A DUP MP has called for the Children’s Commssioner to speak out about children wearing paramilitary uniforms in an IRA commemoration parade in Belfast.
The National Republican Commemoration Committee held the 25th anniversary parade in the Shaw’s Road and Lenadoon Avenue area of west Belfast on Sunday in memory or IRA woman Patricia Black. She died on 15 November in 1991 when a bomb she was transporting in north London went off prematurely. It is thought she was targeting a nearby army band.
The parade was approved by the Parades Commission and a PSNI Land Rover was pictured in front of the procession.
High profile republicans Colin Duffy, Dee Fennell and Damien McLaughin were seen together at the event.
DUP MP Gregory Campbell said the contrast between the IRA parade “to honour a terrorist” and the poignant Remembrance Day ceremonies that took place across the country on Sunday could hardly be more stark.
“Indeed it is a particular insult for it to have been held today,” he said. “This is someone who died at their own hands as they sought to carry out murder. Her story should not be an inspiration to anyone, but a warning to future generations.
“It is particularly disturbing therefore to see young children in paramilitary uniforms on the streets. We should hear from the Childrens’ Commissioner about such indoctrination.
“Once again it is a glaring failure from the Parades Commission that they allow such a glorification of terrorism to take place.” The commission must allow no such repeat, he added.
TUV leader Jim Allister said: “It says a lot about the warped mind-set of Republicans that on a day when many people across Northern Ireland are remembering the sacrifice of millions for the cause of freedom in two World Wars that they should abuse those freedoms to celebrate the life of a would be murderer.
“Many in our Province shed a silent tear today when they remembered someone stolen from them by terrorists. Meanwhile Republicans in Belfast paraded to remember someone who set out to take life but was mercifully prevented from doing so.
“It is sickening that any such display could take place on any day of the year but all the more so on Remembrance Sunday.”
PSNI Inspector Roy Burnside said they were aware of the parade.
“As a matter of routine we will consider any information coming to light which may indicate if any offences have been committed,” he said.
A commission spokesman said paramilitary uniforms are forbidden in public processions. It takes past conduct into account when considering future applications by parade organisers, he added.