Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Victims of state violence ignored in debate about ‘homecoming’ parade

24 October, 2008 - by Alex Maskey, Jennifer McCann

Sinn Féin MLA's Alex Maskey and Jennifer McCann speaking at the launch of the Poster and Billboard campaign to highlight the party's protest march and rally against the November 2nd parade organised by the British Ministry of Defence for the British Army including the notorious UDR/RIR regiment have said that victims of British state violence have been ignored.

Family members of victims of British state murder and collusion and victims groups attended the launch at the Ballymurphy massacre mural at the corner of the Whiterock and Springfield Roads in west Belfast.

Mr Maskey said:

"The families whose loves ones were killed and injured by the British Army here in Ireland have been ignored in the debate about this MoD parade.

"Hundred's of families who have lost loved ones directly or through collusion between the British Army and Loyalists still have many unanswered question about British government policy here.

"There have been hundreds of thousands of people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and undoubtedly many families there will be asking exactly the same questions.

"The evidence of collusion and British state murder is colossal. The attempt to glorify British crown forces in the centre of Belfast is an affront to victims across this island. It adds insult to injury that one of the British regiments involved is implicated in the worst single massacre of the conflict in Ireland: the Dublin/Monaghan bombings.

"Thousands have demonstrated against Britain's dirty wars elsewhere, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. What Britain has done in Ireland is wrong. The same wrong is being done in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Ms McCann added:

"Our rally is to demand the Truth about Britain's Dirty War in Ireland. It will be a peaceful and dignified event and include a silent, solemn protest. This is a proportionate and legitimate response to the decision by the British MoD to organise a parade to honour the British Army.

"Plans for our rally and protest have been very carefully prepared. In addition to making arrangements for the marshalling of the event, the organisers have had discussions with victims groups and bereaved families; the Catholic Church; members of the loyalist community; and the PSNI. Those engagements will continue." ENDS

Note to Editors

It is important note that it was the British MoD decision to organise a parade to honour the British Army not Belfast City Council.

The motion brought before Belfast City Council was for a civic reception for the British Army. Sinn Féin and others made our opposition to that very clearly in the Council. The Council passed a motion to sponsor a civic reception on a small majority (26 votes in favour Versus 20 votes against). That civic reception is scheduled to go ahead.

Connect with Sinn Féin