1,000 march to remember soldiers

Published Saturday, 23 February 2013
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Over 1,000 people have taken part in a parade to mark the murder of two UDR soldiers in Belfast city centre 25 years ago.

1,000 march to remember soldiers
The parade made its way to Castle Court, where wreaths were laid. (© Pacemaker)

James Cummings and Fred Starrett died when a booby-trap bomb detonated behind hoardings at Royal Avenue, as Castle Court was being built, in February 1988.

The fatal attack is marked every year.

Marchers left Templemore Avenue in east Belfast at around 10am on Saturday morning, passing St Matthew's Church.

It is understood some of the bands could be heard playing the Sash.

The event culminated with a service of commemoration outside Castle Court, which was attended by the families of Mr Cummings and Mr Starrett.

It means a lot and I'm very thankful for everyone who turned out. You never really get over it ... you just learn to live with it.

Violet Starrett

Floral tributes were laid and Reverend David McIlveen spoke to those who gathered.

He said: "Today, 25 years on from the murder of their family members, we are here to say our thoughts and prayers are very much with them".

Neil Cummings, James' brother, said the pain of their loss has never left the family.

"Today is a very special day for the families that everybody came along," he told UTV.

"It is a great loss. When something like that happens to a family the family is never the same, it just wrecks a family."

There was a heavy police presence as the Orange march - the first of the marching season - returned to east Belfast, passing the nationalist Short Strand interface without incident.

Earlier organisers called for dignity for everyone involved in the first official parade of the marching season.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers, also appealed for calm.

"I urge everyone to play their part in ensuring today's parade passes peacefully," she said.

"This is an occasion which should be commemorated in a respectful way, and the rule of law must be upheld."

Meanwhile the weekly loyalist flag protest has taken place outside PSNI headquarters at Knock Road, also in the east of the city, after it was moved from City Hall.

A small number of people came together to complain about how the police have handled the demonstrations, which have been taking place since last December when the council voted to stop flying the Union flag all year long.

Another small protest was held near City Hall, a short time after the Orange Order march through the city centre.

© UTV News
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127 Comments
EX Royal Irish Soldier in UK wrote (512 days ago):
I served with The Royal Irish Regiment (part-time) in the aerly 90's. My platoon sergeant and a quarter of our platoon were catholics, and there was no issues with their religion(other than being under a higher threat level from the IRA than the rest of us)we had a good professional team and I miss the old friends I made. If you were stopped and searched by us at a VCP it certainly wasn't because of your religion and we patrolled protestant areas as much as catholic areas.
Tommy Atkins in London,England wrote (514 days ago):
Lorna It matters a great deal how the Queens uniform is worn, or presented.If worn improperly, then it is an insult to all who have served. Unfortunately Lorna that is the only part of your post I can answer,until you correct your grammar
lorna in limavady wrote (514 days ago):
Tommy ALKINS. YOUR COMMENTS ARE CRUEL. THESE MAN WERE ORDINARY CIVILIANS HOW WENT OUT AT NIGHT TO SERVE THEIR COUNTRY TORN APART WITH HATE. DOES IT MATTER HOW THEY WERE PRESENTED IN UNIFORM. AND CATHOLICS COULD JOIN IT WAS NOT FOR PROTESTANTS but as history shows they only want to criticize all for the work of a few
Proud to be from NORTHERN IRELAND in NORTHERN IRELAND wrote (515 days ago):
Henry - you can believe all the BS propaganda if you want, it won't change the truth. Tommy Atkins - The UDR were formed in 1970 and amalgamated with the Royal Irish Rangers in 1992 so weren't disbanded as you claim. The axe you are grinding must be well worn down by now, keep spouting drivel all you want but Id far rather be from NORTHERN IRELAND, despite all its problems than England any day you hate filled clown. Get a life!
lorna in limavady wrote (517 days ago):
Martin Belfast. You comment "the worst experience a Catholic could have is being stopped by the UDR." The worst experience anyone had during the troubles would be if someone came to your home and told you that your father.mother.sister. brother wife. husband had been murdered. by a bomb remember bloody friday. Anything that stopped these people bring terror to our country is a small sacifrice of freedom.You think the UDR were there for their own pleasure instead they risk their lives.
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