Glorification of paramilitaries must not be linked to St Patrick’s Day

15 March 2017

DUP representatives for Lurgan have asked those involved in St Patrick’s Day celebrations to ensure that there will be no paramilitary trappings on display during the annual parade on Friday.

Carla Lockhart MLA

Carla Lockhart

On Friday the Julie Dougan Memorial Band are due to play during a St Patrick’s Day parade in Lurgan. Julie Dougan is believed to have been a member of the IRA.

Carla Lockhart MLA said, “The St Patrick’s Day parade in Lurgan, organised by the GAA should be a family orientated day with no links to paramilitary trappings, symbols or memorials of paramilitaries.

The GAA promotes itself as an inclusive organisation and should adhere to that, particularly when organising an event of this nature. The message should be clear from all sections of our community that paramilitarism should not be glorified or promoted in any way.  Having represented Lurgan for over 10 years this damages the good relations work that has and continues to take place in the town.  I am outraged that a St Patrick's Day parade is tarnished with such trappings."

David Simpson MP added, “I am saddened to learn that a band who remembers an IRA member is allowed to take part in a parade which should be open for the entire community.

However I have been liaising with the Police on this matter. They have given assurances that there will be no paramilitary emblems on display. They also made clear that robust action will be taken if there is a breach of the terms and conditions of the Parades Commission or if there is any anti-social behaviour on Friday.

Allowing the community to come together is important and it is vital that the real reason why St Patrick’s Day is celebrated is recognised.”

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