Dungiven protests: ‘Blatant sectarianism’ says UUP man

Newly elected Limavady Ulster Unionist Aaron Callan has added his voice to condemnation of a protest in Dungiven yesterday against the local Orange lodge’s annual Church parade.

Councillor Callan said: “Yesterday in Dungiven I witnessed disgraceful scenes as approximately 100 republicans – including elected Sinn Fein representatives – decided to hold a protest against an Orange Church parade.

“I would like to commend the actions of the PSNI for their exemplary handling of the situation and I can confirm that representations have been made to both the Police and the Parades Commission by Ross Hussey MLA.

“This was an annual Church Service held by the local Dungiven lodge and involving approximately 60 members of the Orange Order walking from the Church of Ireland to the Presbyterian Church for a short service and then back again.

“No bands were present, no banners were on display and no flags were flown or carried so you really do have to wonder just what was on view that could have so offended Sinn Fein and some local republicans.

“If the answer is that they are offended by the very existence of the Orange Order and the mere sight of Orangemen, then it is clear that some republicans in Dungiven have a very long way to travel before they can sign up to a shared future.

“This is nothing less than naked sectarianism which Sinn Fein must both condemn and address as a matter of urgency.”

The Ulster Unionist councillor’s comments follow condemnation from East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell, who described the protest as a ‘retrograde step’ for community relations.