SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly has refused to apologise for her prediction of major disorder in Lurgan after the Parades Commission had given the go ahead for a large Apprentice Boys Parade in the town on Easter Monday.
Mrs Kelly had said the parade was “provocative” and a waste of police resources. She also described it as nothing more than a “coat-trailing exercise”.
The event, the first in Lurgan in over 20 years, passed off peacefully, with little more than some minor disturbances which occurred well away from the parade route.
Ulster Unionist Upper Bann Assembly candidate and former Lurgan Councillor, Kyle Savage had called on the SDLP MLA to publicly apologise for her comments, however she refused saying: “I welcome that the parade passed off peacefully, thanks to the policing operation, the determination of the Parades Commission and the behaviour of many taking part. I also welcome that a number of paramilitary flags in the town were taken down before tensions could spill over.
“I will not apologise, however, for voicing the legitimate concerns of my community in the face of what many saw as provocation.
“And it would also be remiss not to mention a number of complaints I’ve received from local people about the state the town was left in following the parade. This is a community that we all take pride in, those coming here should show respect to local people by not throwing their litter, their blue bags and their cans on the street.”
Calling for an apology Kyle Savage had said: “As predicted by my party colleagues and I, there was never any chance that the Apprentice Boys were coming to Lurgan to stir up tensions.
“Dolores would do well to focus on those who break the law, rather than those who abide by it.”