Outrageous Abdication of Policing at Sinn Fein March
Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:
“Following a Sinn Fein/IRA parade in Dungiven on 5th August I wrote to the Chief Constable posing a number of pointed questions about the policing of the event. The response which I have received reveals a simply outrageous state of affairs.
“The police have admitted that following a meeting with the organisers of the Hunger Strike commemoration agreement was reached “that police would not enter into the village during the event” and that during the meeting with “parade organisers” the police were notified of their “intention to stage re-enactments and the use of props including replica firearms”. The PSNI agreed to this.
“Whether the “props” permitted by the PSNI included replica RUC uniforms is not clear from the letter but TUV Limavady Councillor Boyd Douglas witnessed people at the event who staged mock road blocks dressed as such.
“It is important to note that the display of replica firearms is in clear breech of Parades Commission guidelines on demonstrations - as were the paramilitary colour parties. Yet it is evident that the PSNI accommodated this Sinn Fein demand - at an event attended by senior Sinn Fein/IRA figures - including co-First Minister McGuinness and Agriculture Minister O’Neil.
“It is little wonder that there is such outrage in the Unionist community about decisions by the Parades Commission when it comes to Loyalist parades – I think not only of the decision relating to Saturday’s parade in Belfast but the outrageous restrictions imposed upon the Rasharkin band parade in my own constituency recently – when an event of this nature isn’t even flagged as contentious by the Parades Commission and the PSNI connive with Republicans to permit them to police their own event and host paramilitary displays! The replica firearms were used as part of the glorification of terrorism seen on the streets of Dungiven, as armed 'volunteers' posed as the parade passed!
“I have today written to the Chief Constable asking him to meet TUV President William Ross, Councillor Douglas and myself at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss this outrageous situation and to address the gross disparity in the policing of republican and unionist events.”