Minister backs new laws to ban glorification of terrorism
A Stormont minister says she supports laws to ban paramilitary commemorations as a row over a hunger strike parade in the Fermanagh border village of Derrylin deepens.
The Belfast Telegraph revealed yesterday unionist fury that 10,000 republicans are expected to flock to the parade next month.
Dianne Woods – a niece of UDR soldier Thomas Bullock (53), who was gunned down along with his wife Emily (50) in 1972 – said the parade was "stomach-churning".
She said the prospect of a march honouring the 10 dead hunger strikers passing so close to the scene of the brutal double-slaying made her "feel sick". The August 3 parade, being organised by Sinn Fein, will move along Derrylin Main Street and Doon Road.
According to the Parades Commission, it is anticipated there will be 27 bands and 6,000 people on the march and also 5,000 supporters.
Two of the bands are named after Martin Hurson and Kevin Lynch, who died in the 1981 Maze protest, and other bands from across Ireland, Scotland and Liverpool will take part.
DUP Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Arlene Foster said she would support stronger laws to deal with the "glorification of terrorism".
Mrs Foster said: "People will be able to see for themselves the double standard and hypocrisy of Sinn Fein by this event.
"On the one hand they agitate against Orangemen walking a shared arterial route for all of six minutes in Belfast, whilst on the other they plan for 10,000 of their supporters to descend on a small Co Fermanagh village to glorify and worship some of the most reprehensible terrorists in the history of Northern Ireland.
"No matter how many marches they hold or how many T-shirts they sell in their online gift shop, there is nothing glorious or worthwhile in what the hunger strikers did.
"The DUP would support stronger legislation to deal with the glorification of terrorism. We want to see a range of new laws to deal with situations such as developed with the repulsive parade in Castlederg (last year), which revelled in evil acts of terrorism.
"Indeed, we have raised this issue with the other parties as well as the Government."
Announcing details of the Derrylin events earlier this week, Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew said she was proud that Fermanagh had been selected, given that the hunger striker who was the first to die, Bobby Sands, had been elected to represent that constituency.
She said it would be a dignified parade.