Council accused of deception over royal visit

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There have been calls for resignations at the nationalist-controlled Newry, Mourne and Down council after a historian was fooled into taking part in pro-British propaganda exercise during a recent visit of England’s Prince Charles.

Charles Windsor and his wife Camilla were in the north last week on a two-day visit.

On the first day in the north Prince Charles had an engagement in Slieve Gullion Forest Park where there was a musical performance from children in The Ring of Gullion Traditional Arts Partnership.

However Una Walsh, a Mullaghbawn native and Ring of Gullion ‘ambassador’, wasn’t given the full facts before agreeing to take part.

She said she “arrived to find that I was part of a royal visit which was clearly a propaganda exercise orchestrated by the Northern Ireland Office and facilitated by Newry, Mourne and Down Council with heavily armed PSNI on each approach road.”

Ms Walsh immediately resigned from the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership and vowed to “never again” work with the nationalist-controlled council.

Terry Harte, a former Sinn Féin councillor in the area, said he understood her decision.

He said Ms Walsh had been “hoodwinked”. adding that “the council know full well the sensitivities in this area around the English royal family”.

He said this was particularly so for Prince Charles, “who is Colonel in Chief of the Parachute Regiment that tortured the people of this area for decades and just last week an inquest found guilty of slaughter in Ballymurphy”.

Despite being shrouded in secrecy, a small number of Saoradh members still managed to protest against the visit.

“Just days after the findings of the Ballymurphy Massacre inquest were made public, the colonel-in-chief of the murderous Parachute Regiment responsible, Charles Windsor was flown into South Armagh for a PR stunt,” the party said.

“His Regiment were also responsible for Bloody Sunday and numerous other murders of men, women and children in Ireland.

“With numerous atrocities under their belt we believe that all those who murdered and injured civilians, their commanders and those at the highest echelons of the British Government that directed the Parachute Regiment to do so should be placed in front of an International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague.”

Saoradh said it “publicly challenged” the SDLP’s Laura Devlin who was present to greet the English Prince.

“Devlin scurried away and refused to speak about her disgusting actions,” they said.

“The fact that such visits and stunts have to be kept secret is done in order to prevent any public opposition from taking place. No doubt had locals been notified in advance then this stunt would never have taken place.”

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