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UVF victim's brother slams Orange Order St Pat's Day parade band

By Leona O'Neill

The Orange Order has been urged to stop a loyalist band named in honour of a man linked to a vicious sectarian triple killing from taking part in a St Patrick's Day parade.

Brendan Duffy's sister Eileen (19) was gunned down alongside her friend Katrina Rennie (17) and customer Brian Frizzell as she worked in a mobile shop on Craigavon's Drumbeg estate on March 28, 1991.

The murders were claimed by the Protestant Action Force, a cover name for the Mid Ulster UVF.

Noel Clarke was jailed for five years for hijacking a van used by the killers.

He claimed he didn't know what the van would be used for after it was handed over.

Clarke was found dead at his Lisburn home in 2012.

The Noel Clarke Memorial Flute Band will march in Friday's parade, organised to counter the traditional St Patrick's Day Parade in the city.

Craigavon man Mr Duffy (46) described the inclusion of the band as "an insult to our family".

The father-of-three said: "It is in bad taste.

"The Orange Order are crying out for the nationalist community to embrace them and their culture, but they are inviting a band named after a guy who was involved in the sectarian murder of two innocent teenagers and another innocent man. Those are the dark sectarian days of the past we thought were behind us. But to bring up another generation with culture along those lines is utterly tasteless.

"It is an insult to our family. It is upsetting for my family, for my mother in particular, who is in her 70s. I don't like to see her distressed and hurt."

He said that Eileen's murder "destroyed our family".

"The legacy of what happened to Eileen impacted on those in our family who weren't even born when she was murdered," he explained.

"Eileen was supposed to be a godmother to my nephew Anthony.

"Anthony took his own life in September of last year. He would have carried a photo of Eileen everywhere he went. He was born two months after Eileen died.

"He always said he wanted to be with his Aunt Eileen.

"He was only 25 years old when he died."

Mr Duffy said that his family will discuss their next move with regards to the Orange Order's decision to include the controversial band in the parade, which will march past his aunt's street in Lisburn.

"I am calling on the Orange Order to review what their policy is on parades and whether there is any reason to invite this band to come along," he said.

"I want them banned from taking part.

"The band is probably full of young people. This is encouraging another generation to think that these guys are heroes and idols.

"They are not heroes, they were involved in sectarian murders. Those days are over. This type of thing will do nothing for community relations in Lisburn."

Secretary of the Bateson's True Blue Lodge, John Millar, last week told the Irish News that raising Clarke's past had "no real relevance".

"Everybody is welcome to attend this event, which is about bringing people together," he claimed.

"There are parades that take place honouring IRA members, so it would be hypocritical to say anything about this parade. There were terrorists on both sides."

The Orange Order said in a statement: "The engagement of bands is a matter for local lodges and as such we were unaware of the decision of the organisers to engage this particular band."

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