Loyalists parade in Belfast to commemorate UDA leaders

The loyalist parade commemorating Joe Bratty and Raymond Elder passed off without incident

The loyalist parade commemorating Joe Bratty and Raymond Elder passed off without incident

A controversial loyalist parade in south Belfast commemorating two leading UDA figures has passed off without incident.

Friday night’s “Remembrance parade,” which was organised by the Ballynafeigh & Annadale Cultural and Heritage Society, has taken place for the last three years around the anniversary to two men – Joe Bratty and Raymond Elder – being shot dead by the IRA in 1994.

It has attracted a number of complaints regarding paramilitary trappings in breach of conditions imposed by the Parades Commission.

Each year, a temporary plaque in memory of Bratty, Elder and other UDA men, along with wreaths has been placed at the WWI war memorial in Candahar Street.

In its determination on this year’s parade, the commission directed that it should start at the corner of Ava Avenue, rather than the proposal to form up outside Ballynafeigh Orange Hall on the main Ormeau Road.

The determination said: “The commission is satisfied that the objective of the planned commemoration each year is, at least in part, a tribute to Joe Bratty and Raymond Elder on the anniversary of their deaths.”

Although it goes on to say: “The commission has received information that the organisers have written to all invited bands giving clear instructions NOT to bring, carry or wear any paramilitary emblems, names or paraphernalia to the event.”

The commission also stated in its determination that the two men are “widely perceived” to have been involved in the killing of five Catholic civilians at the Sean Graham bookmakers shop on the Ormeau Road in 1992.

Following last year’s event, SDLP MLA Claire Hanna claimed there were several examples of paramilitary displays in breach of the commission’s determination.