Belfast Telegraph

Illegal parade attendees could face prosecution: PSNI

Saoradh chairman Brian Kenna speaks at Milltown Cemetery
Saoradh chairman Brian Kenna speaks at Milltown Cemetery
Members and supporters at the event
Republican Dee Fennell
Brett Campbell

By Brett Campbell

Police have said anyone who took part in illegal Easter commemoration events organised in Northern Ireland by dissident republican-linked group Saoradh could be prosecuted.

A number of marches arranged by Saoradh, which is believed to be the political wing of the New IRA, have taken place on both sides of the border.

Yesterday up to 200 members and supporters took part in an Easter Monday commemoration march in west Belfast.

Last night the PSNI confirmed the event, and another in Newry on Saturday, was illegal as organisers failed to comply with the law which requires the Parades Commission and PSNI to be notified of any parade or procession through the submission of a form 11/1.

Chief inspector Stephen McCauley said: "No such notification was received. Anyone who takes part in an un-notified parade is committing a criminal offence and can therefore be liable for prosecution."

Saoradh chairman Brian Kenna used the Easter Monday commemoration to tell around 200 supporters in Milltown Cemetery that Lyra McKee's death marks "a difficult time" for all republicans.

"The IRA needs to take responsibility and apologise," he added.

Chief inspector McCauley said that no action was taken yesterday because of regard to the "prevailing operational environment".

He added: "At all times we seek to respond in a proportionate way while taking all reasonable steps to prevent offences occurring.

"An evidence gathering operation was in place at the event and police will now review all available evidence."

A similar march which had been planned for Londonderry was called off in the wake of Ms McKee's murder.

An evidence gathering operation was also conducted during a wreath-laying ceremony in the republican plot of St Mary's Cemetery in Newry on Saturday.

Saoradh's local branch boasted about "defying crown force threats" during the commemoration which was led by its chairman Anthony Coyle, who thanked those gathered.

"Your attendance has ensured that we have made a dignified and fitting tribute to our IRA patriot dead despite crown force provocation," he said.

Saoradh parades were also held in Dublin and Cork at the weekend. Yesterday two further parades took place in Dublin, as the 32 County Sovereignty Movement and Republican Sinn Fein (RSF) took to the streets.

Participants were dressed in imitation army fatigues with berets and sunglasses.

A pamphlet handed out by RSF included a photograph of the 'England Get out of Ireland' banner which Mary Lou McDonald endorsed on her St Patrick's Day trip to New York.

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