Notorious IRA unit takes part in Falls Road march - The Irish News
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Notorious IRA unit takes part in Falls Road march

Participants in the parade, to commemorate the IRA's 'D' Company unit, at Barrack Street in the lower Falls. Picture by Cliff Donaldson

THE Provisional IRA's notorious 'D' Company unit in Belfast has held a commemoration march to mark the Easter Rising.

The parade, organised by the Falls Cultural Society, was the focus of criticism from unionists during last year's centenary.

Starting from Barrack Street, the march took a slightly different route from last year, turning into Albert Street and winding its way through streets in the Lower Falls before culminating at the republican Garden of Remembrance on the Falls Road.

Men dressed in berets, dark glasses and paramilitary style uniform and carrying flags marched in step, with music from an accompanying republican flute band.

At the Garden of Remembrance, where deceased members of the unit were remembered with wreaths, there was a rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann and the Proclamation was read before a decade of the rosary was said in Irish.

The Provisional IRA's 'D' Company unit was responsible for some of the most gruesome killings of the Troubles. Picture by Cliff Donaldson

A spokesman on behalf of 'D' Company and the Falls Cultural Society told the assembled crowd: "British rule was wrong in 1916 and it remains wrong today in 2017. Let nobody tell you any different."

"We send greetings to and stand in solidarity with all political prisoners and our comrades in Palestine and the Basque Country."

Once led by Brendan 'the Dark' Hughes, 'D' Company was responsible for some of the most gruesome killings of the Troubles, including Bloody Friday in July 1972, when the IRA detonated 19 car bombs in Belfast in the space of an hour, killing nine people and injuring 130.

16 April 2017 - Getting ready for the D Company Easter parade, at Barrack Street. Picture by Cliff Donaldson.

In the same year, its members are also understood to have been behind the abduction and murder of Jean McConville, the mother-of-ten who was taken from her home in the Divis Flats by republicans in 1972.

Her remains were found on Shelling Hill beach in Co Louth in August 2003.

16 April 2017 - The D Company Easter parade arriving at the Garden of Remembrance on the Falls Road. Picture by Cliff Donaldson.

Ahead of the centenary of the Easter Rising last year, the DUP called for 'D' Company flags to be removed after they were erected outside Belfast Metropolitan College, close to the city centre, and claimed that a resident of Barrack Street had complained to the party.

16 April 2017 - The D Company Easter parade leaving from Barrack Street. Picture by Cliff Donaldson.

William Humphrey, DUP MLA for North Belfast, said last year that 'D' Company's legacy was that "they murdered soldiers and policemen and abducted people in their own area."

16 April 2017 - The D Company Easter parade going up the Falls Road after leaving from Barrack Street. Picture by Cliff Donaldson.

16 April 2017 - The D Company Easter parade going up the Falls Road after leaving from Barrack Street. Picture by Cliff Donaldson.

16 April 2017 - The D Company Easter parade going up the Falls Road after leaving from Barrack Street. Picture by Cliff Donaldson.

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