One in 10 PSNI officers were deployed at republican commemoration parade

Gareth McKeown
24 September, 2016 01:00

MORE than a tenth of the entire PSNI was deployed to police a small republican parade in north Belfast last year.

Figures obtained by the Irish News reveal that 774 officers policed the Henry Joy McCracken commemoration parade - resulting in a £182,000 overtime bill.

The operation has been on a similar scale in other years, with more than 600 officers involved in 2014 and 779 the year before that.

In 2013 the bill for overtime topped £250,000.

Last month just over 500 officers policed the parade, which involved only around 200 marchers and 100 loyalist protesters.

The Henry McCracken parade sparked serious violence in 2012.

More than 60 police officers were injured during three nights of rioting on streets close to Carlisle Circus when trouble flared following the march.

In 2014 republicans also claimed they were attacked by missiles.

This year's parade took place on Sunday August 28 passed off peacefully amid the heavy police presence and restrictions imposed by the Parades Commission.

Two groups of loyalist protesters gathered near Clifton Orange Hall and the rival groups were separated by a line of police officers in riot gear.

In total 501 officers were deployed on the day, with the money spent on overtime yet to be determined.

More than 2,500 officers have been tasked to parade over the last four years, according to a response to a Freedom of Information request.

Latest PSNI figures, from the start of September, state that the total number of officers policing the north was 6,857.

The republican parade, just over a mile in length and now in its sixth year, normally begins at Ardoyne Avenue, passing Clifton Street Orange Hall before making its way to Clifton Street Cemetery in Henry Place where United Irishmen leader Henry Joy McCracken is buried.

MrCracken was hanged at Corn Market in Belfast in July 1798.

24 September, 2016 01:00 News

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