Apr 20 2011 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Wednesday
OFFICIALS have praised the people of Denny after a powder-keg Irish Republican parade passed without any major trouble.
Police have said that as many as 430 people took part in the hour-long Cairde Na hEireann procession on Saturday, which began at the south end of Nethermains Road and finished in Herbertshire Park, watched by around 150 people.
Groups of locals gathered at various points along the route to voice their opposition to the demonstration, which attracted more than 160 objections when an application was initially submitted to Falkirk Council.
Cairde Na hEireann, whose aims include the unification of Ireland and campaigning against racism and sectarianism, are said to have approximately 50 locally-based members.
Chief Inspector Gordon Taylor praised his officers, the parade organisers and the local community for their conduct on the day.
He told the Observer only one arrest was recorded during the procession itself, and that he wasn’t aware of any other issues in the town as the day wore on.
“We had a plan in place well in advance of the event, and worked closely with members of the local community, the community council and the parade organisers for a considerable period of time,” he continued.
“There were some concerns surrounding the prospect of the parade taking place, and there were pockets of counter-demonstrators along the route, but we deployed sufficient resources to ensure everything was carried out in a lawful manner.
“And anyone who over-stepped the mark knew they would be dealt with accordingly. The fact that there was only one arrest during the parade speaks volumes.
“Everyone has the right to peacefully express their views and, as long as it’s done lawfully, we do our utmost to facilitate that.
“It’s important that, when policing an event like this, members of the community are involved at every stage of the process.
“I was delighted by how things panned out, and all due credit must go to the officers on duty and everyone else who assisted with the running of the event.”
Chief Inspector Taylor added: “We had additional resources available should they be required following the conclusion of the parade, but normality seemed to resume very, very quickly.
“There was an increased police presence in the town for the remainder of the day, just to make sure, but I’m not aware there were any other issues.”
Denny and District Community Council convener, Colin Belbin, said a small number of local entrepreneurs elected to shut their doors for the day due to what he described as “the fear factor” surrounding the event.
“I’m just happy there weren’t any major disturbances and would like to say thank-you to the police and local residents for the way they conducted themselves,” he said.
“I was grateful that police could be seen in the town until later in the day, it clearly acted as a deterrent.
“The arrest was disappointing, but I’ve been told that the person wasn’t local.”