Conditions imposed on Ballygally parade

Cairncastle Flute Band.
Cairncastle Flute Band.

The Parades Commission has imposed a number of conditions on a ‘charity awareness parade’ in Ballygally next week.

Cairncastle Flute Band had requested permission to follow the route of Cairncastle Road, Brustin Lee, Croft Manor, Croft Road, Croft Park, Croft Heights, Heathdor Drive, Cairnhill Cresent, Grace Avenue and A2 for a parade on July 29.

The band has organised the event to raise awareness of the charity, Every Life Matters.

The commission has ruled the parade may process from Cairncastle Orange Hall, along Cairncastle Road, A2 Coast Road before dispersing at Ballygally Village car park.

It is prohibited from entering Brustin Lee, Croft Manor, Croft Road, Croft Park, Croft Heights, Heathdor Drive, Cairnhill Cresent and Grace Avenue.

Commenting on the decision, a spokesperson for the Parades Commission said: “The commission has considered the organiser’s explanations for this new parade, including its aim of awareness raising for a mental health charity, and also the objections to the parade, which are not to the parade itself or its purpose, but which focus on the disruption caused by a marching band event in a quiet residential area at 8pm in the evening.

“The commission has considered the impact of this new parade in very narrow residential streets and across a footpath walkway connecting exclusively residential avenues where there is no history or tradition of parades.

“It has had regard to its statutory guidelines in its considerations of the parade’s potential for disruption and the potential impacts upon community relations and community life. The commission has considered all relevant human rights issues.”

The spokesperson added: “The commission has cause to believe that should the parade process the entirety of its notified route at Brustin Lee, Croft Manor, Croft Road, Croft Park, Croft Heights, Heathdor Drive, Cairnhill Crescent and Grace Avenue there will be an adverse impact on community relations in Ballygally.

“This decision in no way impacts upon, or impedes, the efforts by Cairncastle Flute Band to raise awareness of the charity ‘Every Life Matters’, which may be achieved without noise and disruption disturbing local residential neighbourhoods and without straining community relationships.”

Earlier this month, the Times reported how unionist councillors had been due to meet with the Parades Commission in a bid to get the green light for the parade to be allowed to follow the proposed route.

Speaking at the time, DUP Group Leader, Ald Gregg McKeen said: “The band is trying to raise awareness of a mental health charity and raise funds for it. This is totally commendable.

“The band is trying to highlight the issue of mental health and suicide and this is a proactive and responsible approach. Hopefully the event can go ahead.”

Larne Lough UUP Cllr Mark McKinty added: “A number of people with mental health issues have been supported by the band in the past and I feel that the parade in Ballygally is for an excellent cause. Hopefully the Parades Commission allow the event to be staged.”