Loyalists allowed parade glorifying UDA mass murderers

Posted By: July 29, 2015

Few restrictions on march through mixed area despite last year’s outrage

Brendan Hughes. Irish News ( Belfast). Wednesday, July 29, 2015

LOYALISTS are being allowed to stage a march through a mixed community to glorify notorious UDA members linked to scores of sectarian murders during the Troubles.

Hundreds of loyalists are to take part in the parade through south Belfast’s Ormeau Road area on Friday to mark the 21st anniversary of the killing of Joe Bratty and Raymond Elder.

The pair are believed to have carried out a 1992 shooting at a Belfast bookmakers in which five Catholics were killed.

The Parades Commission has approved the march without significant restrictions despite the fact that the paramilitary commemoration caused outrage when it was first held last year.

It caused controversy after an £11,000 memorial funded by the Housing Executive was used to honour UDA members including Bratty and Elder.

A temporary plaque bearing their names was fixed to the monument near Annadale Flats. UDA and UFF flags were flown from lampposts.

Last night SDLP South Belfast MLA Claire Hanna criticised the parade and questioned the ruling.

“Whatever explanation given by the host organisation for this march it is evident that it aims to celebrate those responsible for sectarian murder, extortion and criminality,” she said.

“It is hard to see how this is anything more than a coat-trailing exercise designed to ratchet up tensions in a peaceful and well integrated area.”

Among the 35 bands listed to take part are Finaghy True Blues who defied a Parades Commission ruling by playing music outside St Patrick’s Church in central Belfast on July 13. They celebrated flouting the ban by performing ‘the bouncy’.