Belfast Telegraph

Dissidents in vow to ignore PSNI over Newry Easter event

Defiant: Stephen Murney
Defiant: Stephen Murney
Leona O'Neill

By Leona O'Neill

A dissident republican group has vowed to ignore police warnings over its Easter Saturday commemoration in Newry.

Saoradh is to hold the annual event in St Mary's Cemetery tomorrow afternoon, even though the PSNI has said it would be unlawful.

PSNI Chief Inspector Joe McMinn said police were aware of a parade being advertised on social media to take place in the city on Easter Saturday and that attempts to engage with organisers had so far failed.

"The organisers of any public parade or procession are required by law to notify the Parades Commission and police of their intentions by submitting an 11/1 (form), which can be completed online. However, to date police offers to engage with the organisers have been refused," he said.

"As such, any parade will be unlawful and anyone who takes part will be committing a criminal offence and will therefore be liable for prosecution.

"We take the issue of unnotified parades and protests very seriously and will in each case take appropriate steps to protect the public, preserve public order and gather evidence with a view to prosecuting anyone who breaks the law.

Saoradh Newry area representative Stephen Murney said tomorrow's parade "will honour those who gave their lives for an Ireland free from British occupation".

"We will pay tribute to all those who have fought, died and assisted in the cause of Irish freedom," he said.

"This is an opportunity for all those who are working to achieve a 32 county socialist republic, by any means, to rededicate themselves to the Irish liberation struggle.

"At last year's event we were confronted and threatened by heavily armed members of the RUC/PSNI for honouring our dead.

"We defied them last year and we will defy them this year."

The Saoradh parade is due to assemble at the cemetery at noon and participants will then march to the republican plot.

Saoradh, which means liberation in Irish, was founded in 2016.

It is dedicated "to effect an end to Britain's illegal occupation of the six counties".

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