The Killylea village parade, only seven miles outside Armagh City, now comprises about 40 marching bands and it has already been regarded as the main Ulster Protestant celebration of St Patrick. This year, the venue has shifted into the local small city because it is the seat of St Patrick and can better accommodate the event.
The Parades Commission, an independent statutory agency, has given the go-ahead but nationalist/Republican politicians – particularly local Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy – are incensed at what they see as a provocative intrusion on the celebrations. A meeting between the sides failed to resolve the difference.
Afterwards, a spokesman for the band said that the event will be ‘enjoyable and trouble free’ for all who wish to attend: ‘St Patrick is the patron saint of all of Ireland and all of its people. We fully respect the rights of others to celebrate according to their own traditions, and in turn would ask that they respect ours.’