T ension is building in Crumlin ahead of the largest-ever Orange parade through the County Antrim town on July Twelfth. The Orange Order plans to bring at least 50 bands and over 1,000 followers into the mainly nationalist town, effectively closing Crumlin down for the day.
Local Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Marie Logue says that the Orange Order needs to review its application to bring “the largest parade to date” to Crumlin.
Cllr Logue told the Andersonstown News that there were serious concerns over the march.
“The town of Crumlin centres around its Main Street, the Glenavy Road and the Mill Road, where all the town’s services and facilities are located.
“This is precisely the route chosen by the Orange Order to march along between 11am in the morning to the proposed finishing time of 6pm on July 12 – severely restricting the movement of residents in the town.
“It is also a route, given the make-up of Crumlin, that will restrict residents’ access to and from their homes as most of the housing developments are along the proposed route and have one way in and way out,” she said.
“Previously, marches of this scale have resulted in disturbances in the town and have set back the excellent community relations that we have here. The residents and traders of Crumlin are fearful of a repeat of this scenario, given the fact that this is the largest parade to be applied for to date with 50 bands, 1,000 participants and an undisclosed number of supporters which will take hours to pass through the town. I will be meeting with both the Parades Commission and the PSNI to outline my objections and the concerns of local residents to the proposed march.”
A spokesperson for the Crumlin Residents’ Association said the scale of the parade was causing concern locally.
“There are fears amongst the residents that this could lead to thousands of supporters coming to the village,” said the spokesperson. “The residents are seriously concerned about the negative impact this parade could have on good community relations that have been established over many years.
“The local Crumlin lodge parades several times through the town each year and there is no issue. However, the sheer scale, timing and route of this particular parade will see life for those living in the town severely affected.
“The route applied for will impact on every shop in the town, including the two public houses, cafés, the only filling station, the local churches, the GAA and soccer grounds, community centre, playpark, supermarket and access to emergency services.”
The spokesperson said residents haven’t yet been contacted by the Orange Order, much less been consulted.
“Despite this, we have requested an urgent meeting with the district lodge but are still awaiting a response. In the meantime, residents have been proactive in meeting with the Parades Commission to outline our concerns on the size of this parade and the detrimental impact on good relations if it is allowed to proceed through the village.
“Residents have also provided the Commission with several viable alternative routes that will divert this parade from the centre of the village and allow the residents access to the Main Street and its services.”