PN Member Jeffrey Donaldson Concerned about Castlederg IRA Tribute March

The parade - which is planned for August - will pass through the Diamond in Castlederg.

Northern Ireland – A delegation of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) will meet the Parades Commission regarding a republican memorial parade – the so-called Tyrone Volunteers Day – to two Irish Republican Army (IRA) men killed while they attempted to plant a bomb.

Unionists have reacted with fury to plans for holding the annual Tyrone Volunteers Day, which is due to be staged in Castlederg, a village in County Tyrone, this year.

Those behind the event say it is intended to remember republicans from the county killed throughout the Troubles.

The 2013 event was launched at the spot where IRA men Seamus Harvey and Gerard McGlynn were killed 40 years ago by their own bomb.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said the party has been approached by a number of local people ahead of the Tyrone Volunteers Day event in August. He said he felt Sinn Féin [Irish Republican political party, historically linked to the Provisional IRA] had not done enough to take account of local sensitivities.

West Tyrone Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly Tom Buchanan will lead the DUP delegation meeting the Parades Commission on Tuesday to discuss the event. He described the parade as an insult to victims of republican terrorism.

"This parade to commemorate two IRA terrorists killed by their own bomb has caused a huge amount of hurt and upset to the wider community in the Castlederg area," he said.

Mr Buchanan said hundreds of people from Castlederg had contacted the Parades Commission to express their opposition to the parade.

"This parade has hugely increased tensions in the Castlederg area," he said.

"It is therefore incumbent upon republicans to withdraw their application if they are to live up to their own words. If the application is not withdrawn, then the only option is for the Parades Commission to act."

According to Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly Declan McAleer from Sinn Féin, however, it is "not a contentious parade".

"It emanates from a nationalist area of the town, it will go through the Diamond which is a shared space, and the organisers are sensitive to that," Mr McAleer said.

"In Castlederg there are almost 20 parades form the broad unionist community every year, many of which go through the town centre, and none of which have been objected to by nationalists.

"So I think there's a great challenge here for unionists to accept nationalists on an equal basis.

"Everyone has a right to honour their dead, and we're always up for dialogue on any of these matters," he added.

DUP MP Mr Donaldson said Castlederg was still living with the legacy of the Troubles.

"It was the location of a very high number of IRA atrocities over the years, and that legacy lives on.

"When you consider it is the stance of Sinn Féin that Orangemen shouldn't be walking on the Crumlin Road, which is a mixed area, then why are they proceeding with a parade which commemorates the IRA in a town where many people died at the hands of the IRA?

"Of course we have to have equality but we also have to have sensitivity.

"There are people in Castlederg who feel there are double standards operating," Mr Donaldson said.


PN Member Jeffrey Donaldson is DUP Spokesman on Defence, Equality and Energy and Climate Change, and Member of the Defence Select Committee. He was a senior member of the negotiating team in the Northern Ireland constitutional talks and a member of the DUP negotiating team, which participated in the negotiations under the Review of the Belfast Agreement.




Photo by Strabanephotos.

Read stories from: