Unionists object to the 'Tyrone Volunteer Commemoration' to be held in Castlederg

Unionists object to the ‘Tyrone Volunteer Commemoration’ to be held in Castlederg

SINN Féin has announced that it will voluntarily re-route a controversial parade branded ‘obnoxious” by unionists.

The march through Castlederg, Co Tyrone commemorates the death of two IRA men who died in 1973 when their own bomb exploded prematurely.

Sinn Féin said the ‘Tyrone Volunteers Commemoration’ parade on Sunday, August 11, which will be addressed by Sinn Fein MLA and Policing Board member Gerry Kelly, would no longer go past the town’s Cenotaph or Methodist church.

Unionist politicians have called for the parade to be banned by the Parades Commission.

They say it is “glorifying terrorists” who were trying to kill innocent civilians 40 years ago in the town.

A DUP delegation is meeting the Parades Commission to voice its opposition to the parade.

A local victims groups has applied to the Parades Commission to hold a protest on the same as the IRA rally.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has also written a letter to the commission urging them “not to endorse terrorism” by allowing the parade.

West Tyrone MLA Thomas Buchanan, who will lead Tuesday’s DUP delegation, said the parade was “obnoxious”.

The Provisional IRA memorial to two republicans blown up by their own bomb 40 years ago

The Provisional IRA memorial to two republicans blown up by their own bomb 40 years ago

“Twenty-eight innocent people were murdered by terrorists in the Castlederg area,” he said.

“The innocent victims of Castlederg, many of whom have never received justice, should not be expected to accept PIRA terrorists being glorified and hailed as heroes.

“I have written to the chief constable asking him to recognise the toxic impact this event will have on community relations within the area. I look forward to his reply.”

Ulster Unionist assembly member Ross Hussey, and his brother, Councillor Derek Hussey, discussed the parade with the Parades Commission’s Peter Osborne last week.

“This is a community which suffered greatly at the hands of IRA terrorism and which still lives with the legacy of having to come to terms with the 29 murders, 50 plus bombs and the loss of potential that hit the area as the ethnic cleansing policies of the IRA and their republican colleagues took effect,” Mr Hussey said.

“The two individuals being ‘commemorated’ blew themselves up in a car bomb which exploded en route to Castlederg. This was no brave patriotic action, it was an act of terrorism against neighbours.

“If Sinn Féin really wants to move forward, then they should take this parade away from Castlederg or better still, abandon it all together.”

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