Police urged to act over ‘IRA imagery’ at parade

The Spirit of Freedom republican flute band bass drum
The Spirit of Freedom republican flute band bass drum
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The PSNI is being urged to take a robust approach to the display of any terrorist imagery at republican parades taking place this weekend.

Ahead of an event in east Antrim involving 10 flute bands, DUP MLA David Hilditch said some of the bands travelling to Carnlough are known for pictures of gunmen on their bass drum.

Mr Hilditch said: “It will be interesting to see the approach the PSNI take to this parade after the disproportionate, heavy handed tactics we seen in Londonderry last weekend.

“It is well known that a number of republican flute bands parade in paramilitary style uniforms and the organising band for this weekend, North Antrim Martyrs Republican Flute Band, have bowed gunmen on their bass drum skins.”

Speaking on Friday, Mr Hilditch added: “We have all seen the actions of the police when a band wore a small, completely legal badge on the sleeves of their uniform and we are calling for a similar approach from the PSNI towards any illegal symbols on display tomorrow.”

Similar concerns have been raised by another DUP representative around an Ancient Order of Hibernians parade in Co Tyrone on Sunday.

DUP councillor Clement Cuthbertson said the event has the potential for “pro-terrorist symbols” on the streets of Aughnacloy.

Cllr Cuthbertson said: “Given previous offensive symbols being displayed by those participating on Sunday’s parade in Aughnacloy, I have asked the PSNI to review the level of policing.

“Taking part in the parade is the Kevin Lynch Memorial and Spirit of Freedom bands, both of whom display pro-IRA symbols and slogans, such as an IRA terrorist holding an armed weapon on their bass drum. One band is also named after a terrorist.”

He added: “Offensive behaviour cannot go unchallenged. There has been repeated glorification of terrorism and continued display of offensive symbols used during republican parades. This is causing significant hurt to the innocent victims of terrorism.

“It’s time nationalist elected representatives in south Tyrone showed leadership and spoke against such sectarian behaviour.”