Belfast Telegraph

Barracks shooting parade cancelled

A loyalist parade past the scene of the fatal shooting of two soldiers in Northern Ireland has been cancelled following opposition from their families.

Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, were gunned down by the Real IRA outside Antrim's Massereene barracks in March 2009.

A group of loyal order bands wanted to mark the third anniversary of their deaths with a parade through the town. But the plans have been changed after members of the local council and the soldiers' families objected.

Nationalist SDLP councillor Thomas Burns opposed the event. "In the aftermath of this disaster, of these dreadful murders of the two soldiers taking place in Antrim and how that whole community came together, the united support, we don't want to lose that community goodwill," he said.

The Antrim and District Marching Forum wanted 30 bands to parade through the town centre and up to the scene of the shooting on March 7. There were plans for a service and a wreath-laying ceremony at the front of the barracks, which is now closed.

Democratic Unionist councillor Trevor Clarke said it was right to remember the soldiers and other service personnel in such a way.

"Here we have a situation where republican thugs, scum, whatever you want to call them, taking action into their own hands to kill two individuals," he said.

"So the Protestant community, being through the bands' forum, want to mark the anniversary of the loss of these two soldiers' lives."

The Azimkar and Quinsey families told the BBC they did not want the parade.

A spokesman for the Antrim and District Marching Bands Forum, Ryan Abraham, said they had decided not to proceed with the parade.

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