‘Families should think: what if Loughgall attack succeeded?’

Gregory Campbell
Gregory Campbell

The organisers of an independent republican parade in County Tyrone to remember nine people killed during the IRA’s failed 1987 Loughgall attack have been urged to imagine what the consequences may have been if the assault had succeeded.

Eight IRA men and a civilian were killed when the SAS opened fire on an IRA unit as it prepared to attack an RUC station in the Co Armagh village of Loughgall 30 years ago next Monday, May 8.

This weekend’s parade, which will include several bands, has reportedly been organised by relatives of the dead in conjunction with the 1916 Societies.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said it is important to let people hold respectful remembrance services or commemorations for loved ones, no matter what the circumstances of their deaths.

But he warned against any glorification of IRA violence.

“People will be looking to see what form any commemoration takes,” Mr Campbell said.

“No one would deny the right to either commemorate, remember, pay respects or anything of that kind to a person who is deceased – no matter the circumstances.

“That’s not the issue. No one is trying to deny that. The issue is when people take that and use it as an excuse to perpetuate the glorification of what those people did whenever they carried out, in this instance, an attack on members of the security forces.”

He added: “On an occasion like this, when they are commemorating people who were taking part in an attack on Loughgall police station, if people would pause and reflect what would have happened if their relatives had been successful in attacking that police station.”

The republican parade will be the culmination of a series of commemorative events planned for this weekend, the Irish News newspaper reports.

Members of the public are invited to take part in a guided tour of the graves of those who died, beginning today at 10.30am at Altmore church graveyard before travelling to the graves of all those who died.