Councillors to meet with Parades Commission over Ballygally parade

Cairncastle Flute Band.
Cairncastle Flute Band.

Unionist representatives are due to meet with the Parades Commission after objections were made about a proposed parade in Ballygally.

Cairncastle Flute Band had requested permission to stage a ‘Charity Awareness Parade’ in the seaside village on Monday, July 29.

The parades watchdog will consider the application, which would take in Cairncastle Road, Brustin Lee, Croft Manor, Croft Road, Croft Park, Croft Heights, Heathdor Drive, Cairnhill Cresent, Grace Avenue and A2, on July 10.

DUP and UUP representatives are set to meet the body next week after members of the band voiced concerns on social media that the event had been “banned” by the commission.

Speaking to the Times, 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. I have spoken to the Parades Commission this morning (Thursday) and we’ve a meeting with them on Wednesday.

“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, who sent a letter to the Parades Commission on Thursday morning, is also set to meet the body next week.

He said: “I understand the band will not be wearing uniforms and will be conducting bucket collections during the event.

“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.”

Confirming that the application remains under consideration, a spokesperson for the Parades Commission said: “The commission has received a notice for a parade of 40 participants by Cairncastle Flute Band in Ballygally on July 29. The notified route includes the residential streets of Brustin Lee, Croft Manor, Croft Road, Croft Park, Croft Heights, Heathdor Drive, Cairnhill Cresent and Grace Avenue, including a footpath walkway between some of these streets.

“The purpose of the parade is a ‘Charity Awareness Parade’ for the charity Every Life Matters. The organiser also held a similar parade in Ballygally last year.”

The spokesperson added: “The commission has received objections to the parade, including that it is late in the evening, through residential streets, and is disruptive to a mixed residential community where there is no tradition of either loyalist band parades or loyal order parades.

“Residents have stated that they are supportive of efforts to promote mental health awareness, but that a parade in Ballygally is not the appropriate method of doing so.

“Cairncastle LOL 692 on the Twelfth of July morning processes the main A2 Road and the Cairncastle Road and does not enter the residential streets referred to in the application.

“The commission continues to receive representation in respect of this parade, which remains under consideration.”