Presence of ‘IRA men’ at Belfast victims march ‘disturbing’

The rally called for government action to address legacy issues
The rally called for government action to address legacy issues

The presence of “IRA men and women” at a rally for Troubles victims in Belfast on Sunday has been described as “deeply disturbing”.

Máiría Cahill, a former senator in the Republic of Ireland, has been an outspoken critic of Sinn Fein since speaking out about the sexual abuse she says she was subjected to at the hands of an alleged IRA member in 1997, when she was aged just 16.

Writing on social media following the ‘Time for Truth’ rally, she said: “Fully behind the families of victims killed at the Time For Truth rally.

“There is however, something deeply disturbing about the presence of IRA men and women attending, and calling for truth when they continue to cover up their own acts.”

A number of groups representing relatives bereaved in different fatal incidents took to the streets in an event supported by Sinn Fein to call for political action in dealing with the legacy of the Troubles.

Hundreds of people made their way to the city hall, marching together under the banner Time for Truth, with many carrying pictures of their loved ones.

Sinn Fein’s Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill joined other party members including South Down MLA Emma Rogan, whose father Adrian was shot dead in the UVF Loughinisland massacre in Co Down in 1994.

The march was organised before the breakdown of talks between the DUP and Sinn Fein earlier this month.

Mark Thompson, director of Relatives for Justice (RFJ), who attended the march, said the British government “carries the responsibility” of ensuring legacy issues were addressed.

He said the weekend demonstration was about more than the sole issue of legacy inquest funding, reiterating a call for action on important elements of the 2014 Stormont House Agreement.