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McKay questions wisdom of call for ‘Homecoming Parade’‏

31 August, 2008

Sinn Féin MLA for North Antrim, Daithí McKay, has questioned the wisdom of Robert Coulter's call for a "home coming parade" for British troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in September, particularly in light of the revelations by probation workers' union NAPO that up to 8,500 criminals held in British jails are ex British army personnel.

Mr McKay said:

"Mr Coulter has suggested that the North Antrim towns of Ballymoney, Ballycastle and Ballymena may wish to host the return of what he calls "our brave soldiers" when as many as 8,500 of their colleagues who have previously returned from their escapades, are locked up as a result of their criminal activities.

"It will come as no surprise to the nationalist and republican population of the Six Counties that ex-British servicemen and women represent one in eleven convicted criminals jailed in the UK, as many British soldiers, whilst serving in the North of Ireland, have been convicted of a broad range of crimes including theft, assault, rape and murder.

"We witnessed the consequences recently of loyalist paramilitaries being invited onto the streets of Rasharkin by the Ballymaconnelly band, supported by the DUP. The last thing we need is for the UUP's Robert Coulter to invite onto the streets of North Antrim, members of a military force whose former colleagues amount to 8,500 convicted criminals." ENDS

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