Fury over masked men on the streets

Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye

Belfast , UK - March 26, Pictured is the Republican Sinn Fein commemorative march as it makes its way from the Kilwilkee Estate to St Colemans Cemetary on March 26, 2016  Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - March 26, Pictured is the Republican Sinn Fein commemorative march as it makes its way from the Kilwilkee Estate to St Colemans Cemetary on March 26, 2016 Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )

Unionist have reacted angrily after a parade by republicans dressed in paramilitary uniform in took place in Lurgan yesterday (Saturday).

A local TUV representative said the incident raises serious questions for the PSNI.

The party’s Upper Bann Assembly candidate Roy Ferguson was commenting after a number of dissident Republican Sinn Fein members marched from the Kilwilke estate to St Coleman’s Cemetery on Saturday.

The seven-strong colour party - carrying republican flags and wearing masks - were followed to the cemetery by around 20 supporters as a police helicopter hovered overhead.

“The events on Saturday afternoon underscored once again that there are parts of Lurgan where republicans effectively do as they please,” Mr Ferguson said.

“If this had been a loyal order parade the PSNI would have been present in numbers to ensure the letter of the law was observed. Yet republicans have been permitted to put on a show of strength with masked men with no arrests.

“This is a totally unacceptable state of affairs and I will be contacting the PSNI to demand an explanation as to why the terrorist show of strength was permitted to take place and how they propose to bring those involved before the courts.”

The Parades Commission website contains no record of the body being notified the parade was taking place.

Mr Ferguson added, “It was predictable that the events of this weekend would be used to glorify terrorism. I hope that Lurgan hasn’t sent the standard for the PSNI response.”

Last year over the Easter period a police investigation was launched after images emerged on social media purporting to show masked and armed men ‘patrolling’ the streets.

Meanwhile, the Ancre Somme Association staged its own parade in the town centre to commemorate the British soldiers killed during the 1916 Easter Rising. Several hundred people took part, some in period dress including nurses uniforms and military uniforms from the period.

DUP councillor Mark Baxter said, “I Was at a very dignified parade organised by the Ancre Somme Association remembering those crown forces who were murdered by terrorists 100 yearsn ago at the failed Easter rebellion, yet these lunatics pictured here still believe that a terror campaign will get them a step closer to a socialist republican utopia.

“Masked men allowed on our streets! The police have questions to answer and as a member of the PCSP I’ll be raising it as a matter of urgency.”

A much larger Sinn Fein parade to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising is due to take place in Lurgan later today (Sunday).