PSNI probes shots at republican rally

Published Monday, 01 April 2013
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Police are investigating reports that shots were fired at a republican parade in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast at the weekend.

YouTube footage uploaded on Sunday shows a gunman in camouflage clothing shooting around eight times into the air.

It is believed the footage was recorded at a republican commemoration event on Easter Saturday.

A wreath-laying ceremony for Na Fianna Éireann members was organised by Republican Network for Unity (RNU) in the area.

A republican website said RNU and the Henry-Joy Republican Flute Band were present alongside other bands from Scotland.

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds has condemned the incident.

Right-thinking people must unite in condemning this sort of blinkered and bitter indulgence of a mentality which has been rightly rejected by the vast majority of society.

Nigel Dodds, DUP MP

"The organisers of this event need to come out and clearly and unreservedly condemn the firing of these shots," he said.

"Otherwise people will conclude that the presence of this masked gunman and the firing of these shots were not contrary to their wishes and, indeed, occurred with their support.

"Any instance of gunfire on our streets is deplorable and is an attempt to bully and intimidate and to undermine law and order."

Mr Dodds also asked about the level of monitoring and observation in place around the parade, which had been notified to the Parades Commission.

He said his party would be raising the incident with the PSNI.

DUP MLA for North Belfast Nelson McCausland has described the incident as a "scandal".

"There are serious questions to be answered by the PSNI and the Parades Commision in relation to these events," he said.

Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast Gerry Kelly also condemned the incident.

"Dissidents are using these parades as some sort of cover to do other things," he said.

"Their claim that they're not using these parades is shown for the falsehood it is."

Republican commemorations marking the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising have taken place across Northern Ireland.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Realist in England wrote (667 days ago):
Observer - thank you for your kind post. Given NICE's desire to save money by refusing NHS funding for many of the most efficacious drugs, I will see if I can get a patent on my posts to be prescribed nightly for insomnia in place of zopilclone/temazepam/etc. I doubt it'd take off in the 26 counties, as doctors are allowed to prescribe the best drugs to their patients there, but my opinions do come with less side effects. Tolerance may develop after a while, so I'll have to write some new, longer and more boring posts - I'll get started right away. Lorna - I have already criticised the parading of very young children as I view it as wrong - try reading my previous unambiguous posts on the matter. On what grounds are you trying to conflate that issue with the merit of republicanism as a form of state governance? Republicanism is not outdated. It is a fair, progressive and meritocratic ideology in which the people always choose who holds ultimate authority over them. I'd rather have an elected president than meekly accept that ultimate governmental authority should reside in some random person who is there purely based on who their parents were and which religion they profess. The first Free State president was a protestant and there is nothing stopping a Muslim/Jew/Hindu/athiest/etc. being elected after Higgins - could Charles convert to Catholicism (or anything else) and still become king? Looking at the changes in the type of government in each European country/region over the past couple of hundred years, I'd say that clinging to a monarchy is actually the outdated practice here. Jon - I was not ignoring you - I replied but the post was not published. I will summarise from memory what I wrote at the time (hopefully without breaking any house rules this time - sorry if I did so before). The legality issue is a matter of political paradigm. The Free State forces (or Óglaigh na hÉireann, to give their official title) was previously legally and morally equivalent to the organisation that fired those shots in Ardoyne. Political choices made before we were born created the environment in which one 'ÓnahÉ' is an internationally recognised state army and one a subversive organisation. If Britain did not leave the 26 counties and the same splits occurred, both would now be seditious terrorists. If Britain left the whole country, they might be different regiments in the Irish army. You can think what you like of the person firing shots but you cannot deny that they themselves must believe that the previous decisions on partition, etc. were wrong and illegitimate - ultimately resulting in them being the legitimate force in a 32 county country that the UN doesn't legally acknowledge. You should try to understand the republican viewpoint - you don't have to share it but understanding those who disagree with you is a major step towards creating the sort of peace in which former enemies can become friends rather than just tolerating each other from a distance. On your main point, I did agree that firing shots in a built up area was wrong but I additionally stated that many British acts are also morally questionable and, in my opinion, significantly worse at times. I don't care for Dodds' opinion of any given war/individual; I care for his opinion of the British military as a gestalt. The British are, in that respect, the same as the US/French/any other organisation (or 'gang', if Lorna would prefer) that styles itself as a national army (all groupings calling themselves ÓnahÉ are obviously included in that). Whether or not they act on it at any given time, all reserve the right to kill people in order to enforce the will of their political masters on others. To me, that is wrong. Defending your people from attack is one thing but being prepared to kill for oil or national pride is unforgivable. I also pointed out that I am not and never have been British - I can't say that my passport is green (as Heaney famously did once), but it has always been Irish. Finally, I also criticised your confusingly introverted statement about local society being diverse at the intra-community level as I'd rather see better intergration at an inter-community level. Anyone can get along with people who agree with them on the big issues - pares cum paribus facillime congregantur, as Cicero once said.
Frosty in Here wrote (668 days ago):
@Realist, "national identities" - what is that exactly? That label people place on others and assume themselves because they were born in a certain geographical location and therefore must be of a certain category? Guilty by association? You consider yourself Irish? Yet you live in England? How does that work? If you were born in mid-air what would you be? Subject to what your parents told you you were? What if they were both from different parts of the world? "Life isn't about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself" - George Bernard Shaw. Away with your imaginary lines sir, there will never be unity by division. One world, don't break it into tinier pieces just because you can't cope with a bigger picture.
Michael in Templepatrick wrote (668 days ago):
Jon in carrick : " i`d guess you live in the British Isles for a very good reason we have a stable economy (compared to quite a few places at present) we also have one of the most diverse intra community populations anywhere on the planet, we are extremely cautious and respectful of others beleives and traditions." --- no offence jon, but what a load of absolute nonsense!
lorna in limavady wrote (668 days ago):
Realist England. When you dress up little children as IRA gangsters.Put them on a parade with men who would kill fellow countrymen for some outdated cause.then you have another generation blighted with hate.And more trouble for the future. lets not forget. the bombing ,shootings . we saw before and the many here living with the result of the seeds of pure hatred sown in young lives The military tattoo will be more like a show.Stupid to compare that two as they are totally different.
collette in belfast wrote (669 days ago):
@ richard in armagh the uvf uda ruc british army they murdered innocent women men children and unborn babies the uda tortured and murdered a wee boy of 14 with severe special needs and repeatly raped his mother before shooting her soo the ira were not the only murders and before anyone gets on here and trys to say this is rubbish it never happened i say to yoy yes it did for they were members of MY FAMILY
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