DUP meets watchdog over child parades

Published Wednesday, 03 April 2013
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Senior DUP members have met with the Parades Commission to discuss events at republican parades in Ardoyne at the weekend.

DUP meets watchdog over child parades
Youngsters were pictured dressed in paramilitary-style clothing. (© Twitter)

A gunman shooting into the air in a show of strength was allegedly filmed at a commemoration in north Belfast on Saturday and children were also photographed taking part wearing paramilitary-style clothing.

Speaking after the meeting, DUP MP Nigel Dodds said he was reassured the Parades Commission would be looking into the matter.

"We put on record our concerns that that was able to happen as part of a notified parade, the fact that young children were dressed in garb designed to glorify terrorism and we asked the Parades Commission to investigate and to ensure there are repercussions as a result of this behaviour," he said.

"There cannot be two kinds of law in this country, one for the Loyal Orders, and another for the people who go around organising events at which guns are produced and young children are dressed up to glorify terrorism, that can't be allowed to pertain in Northern Ireland and we're determined that it should not."

The Justice Minister David Ford has said using children in these roles was "exploitation".

Speaking to UTV on Tuesday, the Republican Network for Unity (RNU), who organised the event alongside the Henry Joy McCracken Republican Flute Band, remained unrepentant about the children's involvement.

In a statement on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Commission said: "The Chairman of the Parades Commission had a meeting today with senior members of the DUP from North Belfast.

"The meeting was to discuss a number of issues concerning recent parades including an incident which allegedly occurred at a parade over the Easter period.

"The Commission welcomed the opportunity to discuss directly with the public representatives their concerns."

The spokesperson confirmed they are investigating the parade, and are seeking a response from the organisers as well as a report from the PSNI.

Police confirmed on Monday they are investigating the footage of the gunman.

© UTV News
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25 Comments
M in Belfast wrote (529 days ago):
To all those people on this page that are patting the DUP on the back, open your eyes and read what people are saying. For the most part people are not condoning what went on in ardoyne but are pointing out the sheer magnitude of the double standards and hypocrosy displayed by the DUP. I dont need to go into that because many on here have already detailed it. DUP are going to lose votes, not gain them.
Mac in N. Belfast wrote (530 days ago):
This attempt to claw back Unionist votes will backfire during marching season as social services will have to show the same interest in the children in Orange Order parades and 11th night bonfires. Why are N.I. Politicians so short-sighted?
lorna in limavady wrote (531 days ago):
Seamus Belfast. In the Orange Order children are instructed by what is in the Bible. Their Protestant faith is founded in the Holy Bible. They are not given instruction on how to hate Catholics. (which you seem to believe)They do not see men dressed up in terrorist outfits carrying guns. Preaching hate to the crowd.You seem to think because they show THEIR faith they are down on yours.good work Sinn Fein seems you have brainwashed many.
Claire in Belfast wrote (531 days ago):
So Lorna, that debacle outside St Patrick's was alright was it? Perfectly acceptable way to behave? Honestly
Conor in Belfast wrote (531 days ago):
Will the DUP also do the same with the parents that had their children illegally protesting on main roads during the fleg issue??? I find this easter parades involving these children disgusting, but I also felt the sam of parents putting their kids' lives at risk by having them stand on a main road for a protest. I do think it's an over-reaction to get watchdog involved. I will also be expecting the same sort of DUP response come the 11th night round the bonfires.
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