Anger at Derrylin hunger strike parade

Published Wednesday, 16 July 2014
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Unionists have condemned plans to hold a huge hunger strike parade in Co Fermanagh.

Anger at Derrylin hunger strike parade
Ten men died in the 1981 Hunger Strike at the H-Blocks in the Maze. (© Pacemaker)

Sinn Féin has announced that up to 10,000 people are expected to attend the event in Derrylin next month to commemorate the 1981 hunger strikes.

The village witnessed several IRA murders during the Troubles and local UUP politician Tom Elliott said there is concern that the march will cause offence.

The Fermanagh MLA called on Sinn Féin to rethink the idea.

"The hunger strikers were by and large members of the IRA and some of them carried out atrocities within that Derrylin area so obviously I do think it's very insensitive," Mr Elliott told UTV.

"It's re-traumatising those families who had loved ones murdered and I just think it's extremely unfair to those people."

The annual parade is scheduled to take place on 3 August and local Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew said work is underway to minimise any disruption in Derrylin.

She continued: "I am proud that Fermanagh has been selected to stage the National Hungerstrike Commemoration given the fact that Bobby Sands was elected to represent this constituency in 1981.

"The annual commemoration is not only a dignified parade to honour Irish hunger strikers but a series of events including lectures, displays and youth events that allow people to remember the sacrifice made by these men.

"The commemoration attracts up to 10,000 people so there is also an economic benefit to the local businesses as many people travel to the area.

"The organising committee is already working with the local community to minimise any disruption during the parade and ensure that the event is successful."

© UTV News
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94 Comments
Caolán Patrick McAleese in Bellaghy, South Derry wrote (7 days ago):
I'll be there to remember our patriot dead!
bill thompson in Derry in Derry wrote (7 days ago):
I am amused and bemused by the unionist reaction to a planned hunger strike commemoration parade in Derrylin, a town which is 82% nationalist and 16% unionist. Does my memory deceive me when I recall Mr.Gregory Campbell recently complaining about the Orange Order not being able to parade through Dungiven, a town that is 98% nationalist? Sounds like the unionists are still in their old 6 county dreamland.
Gerard in Far Far Away wrote (7 days ago):
The death of the hunger strikers was a pivotal point during the war. It demonstrated that those who starved themselves to death we're not terrorists, but ordinary men willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their cause. Their sacrifice paved the way for Sinn Fein to become more proactive in the political arena, which in turn lead to the GFA of 1998. That alone is worth remembering next month. As for parades, it is part and parcel of life in the North, so it's up to those parading to come to a compromise with those who will be affected by it... without resorting to tit-for-tat baiting or violence.
jimmymac in canada wrote (8 days ago):
Lets never forget, the Iron Lady, once say that Bobby Sands and his brave comrades were courageous men. its written in her book 'The Downing street Years'
Linda in NI wrote (8 days ago):
The parades commission should take into account the damage this will cause to community relations between the Nationalist and Protestant neighbours and should not allow this republican parade to pass anywhere near the location where ira atrocities were committed nor should there be any music passing places of worship. The parades commission and psni should also monitor the republican demonstration.
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BRIAN ROWAN
The pictures from Stormont this week showed us how politics here still walks in and out of step.
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