Child parade raised with Social Services

Published Friday, 05 April 2013
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Children who took part in a dissident republican parade in north Belfast over Easter were put in a "vulnerable position" by the adults who allowed them to be involved, Northern Ireland's Children's Commissioner has said.

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PSNI are investigating YouTube footage after shots were fired during the show of strength in Ardoyne and young people under 10 were pictured wearing paramilitary-style clothing.

On Friday Children's Commissioner Patricia Lewsley-Mooney revealed she had spoken to police about the images of children marching in the parade.

"This specific incident caused me concern that children are being put in this vulnerable position," she said.

"But I think what we need to look at is the broader issue of how irresponsible adults are putting children across NI into vulnerable situations and very often at risk, with regards to their own safety."

Mrs Lewsley-Mooney said she has also discussed her child safety concerns with Social Services, adding that parents should be held account.

It came after a meeting with DUP politicians who have expressed their outrage at the incident.

Nigel Dodds, MP, said: "We are all appalled at the images we saw on our television screens with shots being fired as these young children stand by dressed in these paramilitary uniforms.

"We will certainly be pursuing this matter very, very strongly."

Mr Dodds said parents "need to be brought to book" over their actions in permitting children to take part in the parade.

He added that the incident was completely different from children taking part in Union flag protests.

"I think there's a particular outrage about those who are being used to glorify terrorism and paramilitarism.

He said: "That's in a different category altogether."

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102 Comments
Belfast in Belfast wrote (377 days ago):
There is a difference between loyalist parades and republican parades. 1. Loyalist parades get a full police presence. 2. Republican parades seems to me that there are relatively no police escort and the republican parade can dress and have masked gunmen on there bass drum children marching in republican dress and watching a show of strenght with gun fire. 3. Loyalist parades dont dress children in paramilitary dress. Where you look at a loyalist band parade there all dressed in nice colourfull uniforms with every restriction from the parades commision and under heavy police presence have to be restricted to a tip going past chapels or get arressted for doing so. 4.WHERE IS EQUALITY THERE I ASK YOU PEOPLE. 5. One rule for protestant band parades. And none for a band with hooded men with a gun. 6. Children dressed in what to me looks like republican ira dress gun fire in front of children in a show of strength. 7. ONE RULE FOR ONE AND A DIFFERENT AGENDA FOR THE OTHERS. 8.at this point i rest my case
Matty in Newry wrote (377 days ago):
How were the choildren at risk? The man was firing into the air, also a lot of children are smart and savvy nowadays, can't force them to do something they don't want to do, indeed they may enjoy their heritage and the occassion.
petand in Londonderry wrote (377 days ago):
@lorna in Limavady. The Orange Order was not founded as a bible based organisation. Rather it was founded as a protectionist society for Church of Ireland adherents who wished to maintain their economical superiority over Dissenting Protestants and Roman Catholics in County Armagh. It is an organisation of secret oaths and pledges mimicking the Freemasons, and as such cannot be described in anyway, as Christ like.
great1 in belfast wrote (378 days ago):
scum , let kids live free from terrorists
danboy in london wrote (378 days ago):
Belfast will never change,to many peoplewith grudges on both sides,kids are used on both sides,thats when they learn to hate each other,DUP & IRA are as bad as each other at ruining peoples lifes,
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