TUV urges PSNI New York St Patrick’s Day parade ban

TUV leader Jim Allister
TUV leader Jim Allister

Matt Baggott has been urged to give an assurance that no PSNI officer will again take part a parade tainted by “racist and xenophobic” banners.

TUV leader Jim Allister has written to the chief constable saying the officers’ participation in the New York St Patrick’s Day event had damaged “the relationship between the PSNI and the unionist community”.

In a letter to Mr Baggott, the North Antrim MLA said: “One can imagine the outcry from nationalists if the PSNI had agreed to take part in an Orange parade on the Twelfth, yet here we had officers marching in a parade where the only flag which could be displayed other than the Stars and Strips was the Irish Tricolour.

“Indeed, the official rules of the parade demanded that each unit on parade display the flag of the Irish Republic,” he said.

A report on the Irish American website Irish Central said: “It had been feared that there would be clashes amongst marchers as the PSNI marched with dissident republicans at the parade but the march passed off peacefully with a small number of protesters in attendance.”

Mr Allister added: “Worse than that was the fact that the officers were marching in a parade which stipulated that the only banners permitted – other than those identifying the unit on parade – had to read, ‘England Get out of Ireland’.

“Parading behind such a banner is no place for the PSNI.”

Asked to comment on Mr Allister’s complaint, a PSNI spokesman said: “Police have nothing further to add in relation to the St Patrick’s Day parade held in New York.”