Tensions over new Saoradh office


Unionists have protested after republican party Saoradh opened a new office in the centre of a County Tyrone town of Dungannon.

The group, which was formed last year, put signs up outside the office in the town square in Dungannon last week. The square is often used as a route for sectarian unionist parades and is home to a British Army war memorial, prompting fears of confrontations.

The group describes itself as an “unashamed revolutionary party” and is strongly left-wing -- last week it condemned an open letter by prominent nationalist professionals urging greater involvement by Dublin in the North as “a Catholic Bourgeois letter”.

It already has offices in Derry and Belfast and national chairman Davy Jordan said the party also intends to open an office in Dublin. It plans to fly the Irish tricolour from its office in Dungannon on specific days each year.

“We are definitely not meaning to cause offence to anybody, that’s not the reason for being in the square,” Mr Jordan said. “We have as much right to be in the square as anyone else.”

It is understood the new office will also function as a base for the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association, a support group for republican prisoners.

Two signs bearing the image of 1916 Easter Rising leader Thomas Clarke, a native of Dungannon, and Kevin Barry, a republican executed by the British in 1920, also raised unionist hackles.

Ulster Unionist councillor Walter Cuddy said he was “disappointed” by the development but powerless to prevent it.

“If they are a legal organisation and allowed to have an office we can’t stop that in a democracy,” he said.

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