Belfast Telegraph

Police refer 81 to PPS after Lurgan dissident march

By Allan Preston

Police have reported 81 people to the Public Prosecution Service following a dissident republican parade in Lurgan this year.

The parade on May 28 caused outrage as marchers dressed in paramilitary uniforms were accompanied by children wearing the same outfits.

There was a large security presence throughout the Kilwilkie area as the illegal parade proceeded.

In the following days, police arrested 12 men connected to the event.

Last night, Chief Inspector Jon Burrows posted an update on PSNI Craigavon's Facebook page.

"We promised there would be a robust and thorough investigation and we have been working very hard gathering evidence for prosecutions," he said.

"This was a complex case and our commitment to it has been immense. I am pleased to announce that we have concluded the investigation and have reported 81 people to the PPS for a variety of offences. The offences include participating in an unnotified parade as well as offences relating to paramilitary style uniforms under Section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000."

He praised the "tenacious and professional investigation" after what had been one of the largest investigations of its kind in the area.

Ulster Unionist MLA for Upper Bann Doug Beattie praised the PSNI investigation, calling the parade's inclusion of children in paramilitary uniform "disgusting".

"I would prefer there was nobody referred to the PPS, as it should never have happened," he said.

"I'd be far happier if nobody was falling foul of the law having parades like this which included a paramilitary colour party.

"I've no idea of what the outcome of this will be, but it clearly shows that you can't do as you wish. You can't drag Lurgan down into the gutter and expect to get away with it, expecting the police to just allow it, there are consequences to your actions."

He continued: "The sight of children in paramilitary uniforms with their faces covered I thought was disgusting. I really think civic society has a role to play here, to say to these people you gain nothing from it except a possible criminal record."

Addressing those who had taken part, he said: "There are processes if you want to raise matters for debate through political means."

In a warning to parents, he said: "They should really just concern themselves with their own children, make sure they're being educated properly. Know where they are and what they're doing on the street.

"What they learn at this young age will affect them into their young adulthood and beyond.

"I think civic society, parents and beyond have a strong role to play in this."

Belfast Telegraph


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