The family of a loyalist murder victim have raised concerns that the UVF may attempt to exploit his death to divert attention away from calls for it to disband.
Catholic man Patrick McKenna was shot dead by UVF gunman Brian Robinson outside shops in Ardoyne in September 1989. In recent years tensions have been increased at the Ardoyne interface after a loyalist flute band commemorating the UVF killer was allowed to march past the murder scene.
It has now emerged that the same Shankill Star Flute Band has applied to take part in another march past the scene next month, on the morning of December 4th.
“My family is totally disgusted that they would even think to send this notorious band past the spot where my uncle was killed,” his nephew Gerard McKenna said.
“Brian Robinson’s own brother has publicly called on this band to stop insulting my uncle’s memory.
“There are concerns that the UVF is trying to create a situation in which nationalists will riot if this parade is allowed to go ahead -- but on the other hand if it is banned they can start a riot on the loyalist side.
“We don’t want to see anyone hurt - nationalists, loyalists or police.”
Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association spokesman Liam McCafferty said the band had already flouted a Parades Commission ruling last year.
“This parade is clearly designed to increase community tensions and should be banned,” he said.
Similar parades the summer marching season have caused serious rioting in recent years.
The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective said it acknowledged that the parade organisers were “an integral part” of the North Belfast community but challenged the group to explain why it insisted on parading through the republican Ardoyne area and why it persisted on including a band named after the UVF killer of an Ardoyne resident.
“Have the Greater Ardoyne community not made it abundantly clear that the use of this band grossly insults local people as it commemorates the person who killed Ardoyne resident, Paddy McKenna in 1989?” the group asked.
“Of what benefit will the December 4 march be to the entire populace of North Belfast?”