Belfast Telegraph

Bloody Sunday victim's brother calls for ban on Clyde Valley band

Anger: John McKinney
Anger: John McKinney
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

A man whose brother was shot dead on Bloody Sunday has said that a band whose members wore Parachute Regiment insignia on a parade through Londonderry should not be allowed back.

Members of the Clyde Valley Flute Band from Larne also displayed the letter 'F' on the sleeves of their uniforms as they took part in the Apprentice Boys parade on Saturday, in support of 'Soldier F'.

Soldier F is to be prosecuted over the murders on Bloody Sunday of William McKinney and James Wray.

William McKinney's brother John has hit out at the band for wearing the regalia in the knowledge they would be marching close to the scene of Bloody Sunday, where 13 people were shot dead by Paras on January 30, 1972.

He claimed it was an act of triumphalism and also criticised DUP politicians photographed standing under a Parachute Regiment banner on Saturday.

"The only way that this current mess can be solved is for that band not to be allowed back into Derry," Mr McKinney said.

"They knew they were going to be marching within 100 yards of where everybody, including my brother, was shot.

"What I think was every bit as bad as that was the decision by DUP politicians - including Gregory Campbell, Gary Middleton and Graham Warke - to be photographed under the banner in the Fountain.

"It was disgusting and, like the band with an emblem on their shirts, it was an act of triumphalism."

Mr McKinney said that he personally knows "good people" in the Fountain estate. However, he added no one should be under any illusions about how "offensive and hurtful" the displays had been to the Bloody Sunday families.

"The Apprentice Boys have said they recognise that hurt and have offered to meet with the Bloody Sunday families, but if we are to map out a road forward from all this there must be no reference to Soldier F or the Parachute Regiment in future parades," he said.

"There was an agreement reached here between the Apprentice Boys, residents and the business leaders almost 20 years ago and the marches since then have been relatively peaceful - but is this one band going to set us back 20 years?

"People accommodated the parades; they might not have liked the parades, but they accommodated them.

"So if the Apprentice Boys are genuine in recognising the hurt this one band has caused they should give an assurance this band will not be asked back," he added.

Moves are under way to re-establish talks between the Apprentice Boys and Bogside Residents' Group to ensure the Derry parades model continues.

This was an agreement forged 20 years ago that brought an end to trouble that marred the two annual Apprentice Boys events in the city in August and December.

The premise of the agreement, which is specific to Derry, is that parades would be a celebration of culture and would avoid political statements or messages, which the Clyde Valley Flute Band has been accused of contravening by wearing shirts emblazoned with support for Soldier F.

Belfast Telegraph


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