Parades Commission ‘ignores’ plea on UDR murder spot

Sunday's parade goes through Belfast city centre
Sunday's parade goes through Belfast city centre

The Parades Commission has refused to put in place any restrictions to ensure a dissident republican parade in Belfast on Sunday respects the location where two UDR soldiers were murdered, it is claimed.

James Cummings and Frederick Starrett, both 22, were killed by an IRA bomb while setting up a vehicle checkpoint at Royal Avenue in Belfast in 1988.

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said the DUP had written to the commission asking for restrictions to be put in place, without suggesting specific measures.

On Sunday the Anti-Internment League parade starts in Ardoyne and then passes the spot of the double murder before moving up the Falls Road.

Mr Robinson said: “No one has ever been convicted for the murder of these two men who are still commemorated every year by the Ballymacarrett District LOL.

“For the families and those who knew them the pain is still raw, but to have such a parade passing the spot where they were murdered exacerbates this greatly.”

During the same dissident republican parade last year, he said, participants could clearly be heard “chanting IRA slogans”.

“So it is deeply disappointing that the Parades Commission have imposed no restrictions on the parade as it passes this spot.

“Many people from east Belfast have been in touch with me to raise their concerns and I believe it would have been entirely appropriate for the commission to have acted in response to this.

“Unfortunately the Parades Commission’s response, whilst disappointing, is not surprising.”

The DUP raised the sensitivities of the location with the police on Thursday, he said.

The Parades Commission has not offered any comment.