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Protest group oppose St Patrick’s Day parade decision

UNION Flag protestors in Armagh have formed a committee and submitted a five-page document to the Parades Commission opposing the council’s decision to hold a St Patrick’s Day parade on a Sunday morning.

The Armagh Concerned British Citizens group is concerned about the decision by SDLP and Sinn Fein councillors, despite unionist opposition, to have the parade at a time when ten Protestant churches in the centre of Armagh will be holding services.

The group’s submission to the Parades Commission says that the 11am-1pm “carnival” event is expected to be attended by more than 2,000 people but challenged the council’s claim that it would “bring together the local community”.

It argued that Protestants’ religious views excluded them from Sunday ‘carnivals’ and added: “All evidence indicates that it has already created significant division within the city, and will create further inevitable division and bitterness if it goes ahead at its currently stated times and form.”

Paul Berry, an independent unionist councillor, said that he had been contacted by members of several churches who fear they will be unable to worship that morning.

Mr Berry, a former DUP MLA, said that he fully supported the group’s concerns about the parade and commended them for making representations to the Parades Commission.

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