The Irish Republican Socialist Party has likened the application by the Orange Order to coat trail 300 orange men, supporters and bands through the entirely nationalist Strabane town centre to “the Klu Klux Klan marching through Harlem”.
Michael McLaughlin of the IRSP continues “We cannot understand why the Orange Order wants to go out of their way to create a new contentious parade in Strabane. A parade of hundreds of Orange Order members, pipe bands, flute bands and supporters marching around Strabanes Main Street and around the town on the 12th of July is blatantly a sectarian coat trailing exercise. Irreversible damage could be done to community relations in the town”.
Mr McLaughlin continues “The days when Strabane was held to ransom by the Orange State and Orange Order are long gone and these people need to get that into their heads. If the Orange Order think for one second republicans, socialists and progressives would accept this show of sectarian triumphalism they are badly mistaken. Would the Orange Orders ideological bedfellows in the Klu Klux Klan be allowed to march around Harlem, no they wouldn’t and that’s how absurd this whole thing is”.
Mr McLaughlin finishes “We have held informal preliminary talks with the local branches of Republican Network for Unity and the 1916 Societies around collectively physically blocking the contentious Orange Order parade. If the Parades Commission determination allows this march to continue unregulated we will stop it. Republicans in Strabane have allowed the Orange Order to continue to have parades along the predominately nationalist Patrick Street for over a decade. If the Orange Order continue to try and raise sectarian tensions this agreement may have to be revised”.