Belfast Telegraph

IRA victims' families want dissident parade banned

Colin Worton
Colin Worton
The Saoradh poster for the march
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

IRA victims' families have called on the Parades Commission to reject an application for a dissident republican group's hunger strike march in Newry, which finishes at the controversial Raymond McCreesh play park.

Saoradh, the political wing of the New IRA, is holding its first hunger striker commemoration on Saturday, October 5, in Newry.

The parade will begin at Kilmorey Street at 2pm and finish at Raymond McCreesh Park where a rally will be held to commemorate "IRA and INLA heroes who paid the supreme sacrifice".

The main speaker at the event will be Belfast republican Dee Fennell.

The Parades Commission have received an application for the march, which has been labelled 'sensitive', and will be considered tomorrow.

It states that 700 people are expected to participate in the event with another 300 supporters, while three bands will be taking part.

Colin Worton's brother Kenneth was just 24 years old when he was shot dead alongside nine other Protestant workmen in Co Armagh in January 1976, in what has become known as the Kingsmill massacre.

Just five months later Raymond McCreesh was sentenced to 14 years after he was found to have been carrying weapons used in the massacre.

Mr Worton said that Saoradh's sole ambition with their march is to "humiliate" the loved ones of the IRA's victims.

"It shouldn't be there and celebrated at McCreesh Park," he said.

"I think the only reason they're doing it at McCreesh Park is to annoy the likes of me, especially with someone coming down from Belfast to speak at it," he said.

"They solely intend to annoy, sicken and humiliate by doing it there."

Mr Worton added that any "right thinking person" would reject the parade application.

Sammy Heenan from Rathfriland, Co Down, was orphaned when he was aged 12 after his father was shot by an IRA gunman outside his Legananny home in 1985. "The IRA came in that morning of my father's murder and forced him to his knees and shot him twice in the back of the head at point blank range," he said.

"There's always very stringent guidelines attached to any parade that they must not breach the peace or cause offence.

"They are paying homage to individuals such as Raymond McCreesh, who was apprehended with a gun that was used in the Kingsmill massacre."

Meanwhile, Sandra Harrison, whose brother was killed by the IRA 30 years ago, has said it would be "disgusting" if the parade was allowed to go ahead.

"There's no thought for victims or the loved ones who are trying to move on after being bereaved but it's impossible because of these commemorations. It's just hard," said Ms Harrison, who chairs a victims group called MAST (Mourne Action for Survivors of Terrorism).

"It seems to be one law for one and one law for another [regarding the parades commission]."

She added: "It's like tramping over the graves of those who have been murdered. They're saying that they're still here and they're not going to go away."

Belfast Telegraph


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