MP tells of fears over republican ceremony

Upper Bann MP David Simpson has called on the police to monitor a republican commemoration event
Upper Bann MP David Simpson has called on the police to monitor a republican commemoration event

An MP has expressed fears that scenes reminiscent of the 2013 Castlederg IRA commemoration could be repeated next week.

David Simpson, representing Upper Bann for the DUP, spoke out over a planned republican memorial event on Tuesday in Portadown.

It is in honour of “Volunteer Julie Dougan”, and the MP was concerned at the depiction of gunmen on an advertisement for the wreath-laying ceremony (pictured right).

Although the book Lost Lives – a huge compendium of Troubles-related deaths – lists no “Julie Dougan” in its records, a republican website carries memorial notices for a woman by that name.

They note she “died on active service on July 8, 1972”, and that she was fondly remembered by Portadown republicans.

Yesterday, Mr Simpson said the leaflets pictured had been circulating in Portadown, and fuelled fears that some of the displays may mimic last August’s republican event in Castlederg, when uniformed men and women honoured two would-be IRA bombers.

“The PSNI in Portadown is aware of this event and have assured us that they will be monitoring it.” said Mr Simpson in a statement.

“I don’t want to see a repeat of what happened in Castlederg where, although the law was broken, the police had insufficient evidence to bring forward prosecutions.

“The police must ensure they are properly located to gather evidence and bring people before the courts if the law is breached.

“The leaflet advertising the event is threatening and clearly glorifies terrorism.

“This is not the work of those who want to move forward rather it is the work of those who want to wallow in the terrible acts of terrorism which plagued our society.”

He also added: “Those who glorify terror have no place in Northern Ireland. They send out a signal that terrorism is justified.

“That can never be the case.”