Derrylin hunger strike march ‘has re-traumatised IRA victims’

Republicans take part in the National Hunger Strike Rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh. Picture Darren Kidd / Press Eye.
Republicans take part in the National Hunger Strike Rally in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh. Picture Darren Kidd / Press Eye.

Victims of the IRA in Fermanagh have said a hunger strike commemoration in the county glorified terrorism and re-traumatised bereaved families.

Commenting following the event in Derrylin yesterday, Kenny Donaldson of the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) said the march “eulogised individuals who were incarcerated for crimes ranging from membership of a proscribed terrorist organisation to that of murder”.

Several thousand people, including 27 bands, took part in honour of the 10 republican terrorists who died during the Maze prison protest in 1981.

Guest speaker was the Palestinian ambassador to the Republic of Ireland Ahmad Abdelrazek.

The Parades Commission had stipulated that no flags, banners or symbols “relating to a proscribed organisation” could be displayed, and that “musical instruments must not bear an inscription or mark of a proscribed organisation, or depict weaponry of any kind”.

Mr Donaldson said the grief stricken and re-traumatised families decided on a “dignified” response to the republican march.

“Their response was to attend a church service held this morning in Derrylin Church of Ireland where covering clergy, Canon Quill, centred his address and the content of the service around remembering and giving thanks for all those whose lives had been extinguished by terrorism in the Derrylin and wider Co Fermanagh area,” he said last night.

First Minister Peter Robinson had made an eleventh hour appeal for the “obnoxious” event to be called off. On Friday he said the parade would be “intimidating” and offensive to victims.

Following the march Stephen Gault from Enniskillen, whose father Samuel was killed by the Poppy Day bomb in the town in 1987, called it a “parade of shame”.

Writing on Facebook, he added: “Didn’t see one member of PSNI anywhere to enforce Parade Commission’s ruling. Flags, uniforms, bands and banners glorifying terrorism. Disgusting.”

Speaking yesterday, TUV leader Jim Allister said: “Today’s terror-fest in Derrylin was never intended by Sinn Fein to be anything other than a glorification of IRA terrorism and trampling on the graves of their innocent victims, and so it turned out to be.

“How any unionist continues to sustain in power those who gloatingly glorify such blood-drenched terrorism, is beyond my comprehension.”