Use of children to glorify violence disgraceful says MP
THE use of primary school children dressed in paramilitary uniform and marching in military formation to lead a dissident republican parade has been ccondemned as ” disgraceful “. There were calls for the children’s commissioner to investigate after three boys were dressed in berets, dark glasses and black gloves at a North Belfast Easter commemoration.
After the boys led the parade to a Fianna mural in Ardoyne a gunman emerged from the crowd and fired shots into the air. Na Fianna hEireann is the youth wing of the IRA. Several hundred people attended the parade organised by Republican Network for Unity (RNU) and the Henry Joy McCracken flute band. North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds said it was ” disgraceful to see children being used to glorify paramilatary activites and violence “. ” This is highly inappropraite and I would call on the children’s commissioner and the revevant ahthorites to investigate this incident thoroughly,” he said. RNU spokesman Ciaran Cunningham said the group – which recently announced it was considering standing candidates in future elections – had helped to orginise the march but distanced himself from the involvment of the children. ” The Fianna parade is now in its third year and while RNU and Henry Joy McCracken band provided the plaque and help with some of the logistics required to orgainse such an avent the cosmetic pageantry wuold not be a matter for us and would be a oganised at a local level,” he said. Nigel Dodds said : ” My party ccolleagues and I will be pursuing these matters with the police and will be asking serious questions about the flagrant promotion of criminality and terrorism. ” Given that this parade and wreath laying were notified to the PSNI/RUC and to the Parades Commission what level of monitoring and observation did those authorities have in place ? ” In the light of what has occoured what actions will the PSNI/RUC and the Parades Commission be taking against the organisers ?
” I know absoulutely nothing about the shots being fired but will take no lectures from Nigel Dodds or any other member of his party that regularly particpates in events glorifying and encourging recruitment to the British Army,” he said. ” The bulk of armed men in Ardoyne on Saturday were members of the PSNI/RUC. ” We would not have been made aware of the finer details of the pageantry beforehand but I’m not going to start condemning people on the ground for what is a fairly minor thing.” $hame £ein assembly member Gerry Kelly cocondemned the firing of shots at Saturday’s parade. He said dissident republicians had been exploting parades ” as a cover to do other things “.
With many thanks to : Allison Morris, Irish News.
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