UDA show of strength after parades body approval
UDA show of strength after parades body approval


A parade in support of UDA paramilitaries took place again this year in south Belfast and once again in defiance of Parade Commission restrictions.

UDA flags were flown from lampposts on the mixed community of the Ormeau Road despite a warning against the use of paramilitary trappings during the south Belfast commemoration.

For a third year the parade was organised to coincide with the anniversary of Joe Bratty and Raymond Elder, notorious UDA killers linked to scores of sectarian murders. The pair are also linked to a 1992 gun attack on a bookmakers on the same road in which five Catholics were killed.

A controversial memorial funded by the Stormont administration was once again used at the end of the parade to glorify the UDA death squads. Participants were allowed to gather at the contentious memorial near Annadale Flats that has become the focus of annual displays by loyalist murder gang and their supporters.

The Parades Commission appears to have given up on controlling the paramilitary nature of the parade. In its determination earlier this month, which restricted the march from the Ormeau Road, the body admitted that the Annadale memorial would likely feature a UDA tribute.

Claims that the UDA appears to be growing in strength followed the appearance of an intimidatory UDA recruitment poster earlier this month.

The poster was stuck to a sign on the main Omagh to Strabane Road in west County Tyrone people to join the loyalist paramilitary group. Pro-UDA slogans have also been daubed on walls in the same area in recent weeks.

The roadside poster carries the words: “Ask yourself this question. When the battle has been finally won. Will I be able to stand and be counted amongst the men who won it?

“Make sure the answer is yes. Join your local unit of the UDA. Your country needs you.”

Republicans subsequently covered the poster with their own.

Sinn Fein councillor Brian McMahon said the UDA poster and graffiti appear to be orchestrated.

“It seems to be a very organised campaign which would give you a bit of concern given the fact the UDA is an organisation on ceasefire and this type of activity in west Tyrone was relatively unheard of,” he said.

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