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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Trimble appeal over Drumcree route
Orangmen marching
Drumcree parade has been restricted for four years
An appeal to the Northern Ireland Parades Commission to allow a controversial Orange Order parade to go ahead this weekend has been made by the Ulster Unionist Party leader.

Speaking at Stormont on Monday, David Trimble said the right to march should be upheld at Drumcree, Portadown, County Armagh, on Sunday.

However, he added that whatever happened, all sides should exercise restraint.

In the past, tensions over the march have led to widespread violence across Northern Ireland.

David Trimble Ulster Unionist Party leader
David Trimble: "The right to march should be upheld"

The first minister said everyone needed to remain calm in the coming days and weeks, and respect the rule of law.

The Order wants to use the route on its return journey from a Somme Commemoration service at Drumcree Parish Church, but the march is opposed by residents of the mainly nationalist Garvaghy Road.

It has been prevented from marching the route for the past four years.

The Drumcree parade is the most controversial of all Protestant loyal order parades.

Meanwhile, the intense security surrounding the parade should be scaled down, according to a leading police officer.

Proposals

Assistant Chief Constable Stephen White, who is in charge of policing the annual Drumcree march, said the move may help ease tensions.

The PSNI has up to 1,000 police officers and four Army battalions at its disposal over the Drumcree period.

Mr White said water cannon and public order support groups would also be at his disposal.

Last year's parade passed off peacefully.

Controversial parades

Earlier this month, the Orange Order was criticised by the Parades Commission for "failing to engage in proper dialogue".

In the commission's fourth annual report, Chairman Tony Holland said it was not surprising the Order had failed to achieve all it wanted when it only got involved in "sporadic talks".

He appealed for people of influence to encourage the Orange Order to get more involved in sustained dialogue.

Mr Holland said there was no evidence to suggest there had been an appreciable change in relation to Drumcree.

The Northern Ireland Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions on whether controversial parades should be restricted.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble:
"I would hope that the Parades Commission will uphold the right to march"
Find out more about the Drumcree dispute in Northern Ireland

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27 Jun 02 | N Ireland
01 Jul 01 | N Ireland
05 Jul 01 | N Ireland
03 Jul 00 | N Ireland
02 Jul 00 | N Ireland
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