Belfast Telegraph

DUP puts pressure on Parades Commission to ban IRA tribute march

BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

A DUP delegation will meet the Parades Commission regarding a republican memorial parade to two IRA men killed while they attempted to plant a bomb.

Unionists have reacted with fury to plans for the annual Tyrone Volunteers Day, which is due to be staged in Castlederg this year.

Those behind the event say it is intended to remember republicans from the county killed throughout the Troubles.

The 2013 event was launched at the spot where IRA men Seamus Harvey and Gerard McGlynn were killed 40 years ago by their own bomb.

West Tyrone MLA Tom Buchanan will lead the DUP delegation meeting the Parades Commission on Tuesday to discuss the event.

He described the parade as an insult to victims of republican terrorism.

"This parade to commemorate two IRA terrorists killed by their own bomb has caused a huge amount of hurt and upset to the wider community in the Castlederg area," he said.

Mr Buchanan said hundreds of people from Castlederg had contacted the Parades Commission to express their opposition to the parade.

The main speaker at the event, due to take place on Sunday August 11, is Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly.

"This parade has hugely increased tensions in the Castlederg area," said Mr Buchanan.

"It is therefore incumbent upon republicans to withdraw their application if they are to live up to their own words. If the application is not withdrawn, then the only option is for the Parades Commission to act."

Ulster Unionist MLA for the area, Ross Hussey, said Sinn Fein was "attempting to rub salt into the wounds of the bereaved".

Sinn Fein West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff responded to the criticism by pointing to loyalist parades held in the town without objection.

"Year in, year out, Castlederg witnesses a disproportionately large volume of loyalist/loyal order parades without hindrance or objection from the resident majority nationalist/republican community," he said.

The Parades Commission is due to rule on the event on Tuesday.

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"It is abundantly clear to everyone that this parade has hugely increased tensions in the Castlederg area. It is incumbent upon republicans to withdraw their application if they are to live up to their own words. If the application is not withdrawn, then the only option is for the Parades Commission to act."

Tom Buchanan, West Tyrone DUP MLA

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