TUV leader Jim Allister challenges legality of ‘IRA parade’ organised by Sinn Fein

Sunday 7th April 2019''Parade in Rasharkin, Co. Antrim, to commemorate the murder of Republican Gerard Casey who was shot dead at his home in the town in 1989 by loyalist paramilitaries. 'Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Sunday 7th April 2019''Parade in Rasharkin, Co. Antrim, to commemorate the murder of Republican Gerard Casey who was shot dead at his home in the town in 1989 by loyalist paramilitaries. 'Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

TUV leader Jim Allister has called for a probe into the legality of a republican parade in Rasharkin.

Mr Allister said that Sunday’s parade in Rasharkin to commemorate “IRA terrorist Gerard Casey” does not seem to have been notified to the Parades Commission.

“It certainly is not mentioned on their website,” he said. “This in a town where there is considerable agitation against any loyalist parade and where any imagined breach of a Parades Commission determination is seized upon by Sinn Fein.

“Yet here we have a case where a Sinn Fein/IRA MLA travels from Belfast to address a parade which appears to have been clearly illegal.

“Were the PSNI present at this commemoration of a terrorist? They have no problem finding the manpower to enforce determinations against loyalist parades in Rasharkin. Where were they today? The PSNI need to act against those involved in the parade, including Maskey.”

The News Letter is contacting the Parades Commission and Sinn Fein for comment.

A PSNI spokeswoman said the application for the parade was on the Parade Commission’s website and that it had been appropriately applied for and approved.

As such, it would have been policed with an appropriate police presence, as are all approved parades, she added.

The Parades Commission website says the application reference number PAR\83564 was submitted by the Gerard Casey Sinn Féin Cumann, Rasharkin.

A spokesman for the Parades Commission said: “A parade was notified on March 10th 2019 to the Parades Commission to take place in Rasharkin on April 7th, 2019. The parade’s purpose as notified was “to mark the 30th Anniversary of the murder of Gerard Casey and send continued solidarity to the Casey family in their fight for truth and justice”. The notification is published on the Commission’s website.”

A Sinn Féin spokesperson said: “An application was submitted for Sunday’s commemoration in Rasharkin to commemorate Gerard Casey who was murdered by a unionist death squad in collusion with the British State.

“The parade was deemed non-contentious by the Parades Commission and the PSNI were in attendance.

“The event is clearly listed on the Parades Commission website so Jim Allister should check his facts before making unfounded allegations.”