No violence at Castlederg march
No violence at Castlederg march


A republican commemoration in County Tyrone, which had appeared to be threatened by loyalists, has passed off peacefully.

The annual event organised by the Tyrone Volunteers Commemoration coincided with the 40th anniversary of the deaths of two local Castlederg IRA Volunteers, Seamus Harvey and Gerard McGlynn, who died while on active service.

Speaking ahead of the march, Britain’s Direct Ruler in the north of Ireland, Theresa Villiers, had condemned the event and called for it to be cancelled.

Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly was a keynote speaker at the rally this afternoon.

He said that he was there to pay tribute to IRA members from the area who had been “killed in action during the latest phase of a very old conflict with Britain”.

“I was part of the IRA - I am very straight forward about that. I am proud to be here”.

He criticised what he called the media maelstrom of attacks ahead of the event.

Mr Kelly said: “No unionist MLA, councillor, MP or minister, no loyalist paramilitary or loyal order spokesperson - no matter how loud they shout, will prevent me or any other republican honouring our comrades who gave their lives in the struggle for Irish freedom and equality”.

Unionists held a large protest at the towns Cenotaph, from which the parade had been voluntarily rerouted.

Senior members of the DUP, including Gregory Campbell and Arlene Foster, were among those present.

Mr Campbell said republicans should be “showing sorrow and remorse for what they’ve done - not glorifying in it”.

One loyalist victims campaigner, David Kerrigan, said of Sinn Fein: “There is no use talking to them, they have set relations back in this town 20 years.”

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