DUP MLA condemns IRA ‘D' Company commemoration march on Belfast's Falls Road
A COMMEMORATION march by the Provisional IRA's 'D' Company unit in Belfast to mark the Easter Rising has been condemned as "having no historic connection" to 1916 by a unionist MLA.
Around a hundred people, including veteran republican Gerard Hodgins, gathered to watch as 'D' Company paraded from Barrack Street along the Falls Road, where the unit carried out attacks during the Troubles, to the republican Garden of Remembrance.
Men carrying 'D' Company banners and dressed in berets and paramilitary style uniform marched in step along the road en route the commemoration service, where they remembered deceased members of the unit.
At the Garden of Remembrance, there was a rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann before a decade of the rosary was said in Irish.
A D Company spokesman told the assembled crowd: "British rule was wrong in 1916 and it is still wrong in 2016. Let no-one tell you any different. We will settle for nothing less than a declaration of independence."
'D Company', which was once led by Brendan 'the Dark' Hughes, was responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the Troubles.
Hughes, who died in 2008, told interviewers from the Boston College oral history project that it was behind Bloody Friday, when the IRA detonated 19 car bombs in Belfast in the space of an hour, killing nine people and injuring 130.
Last week unionists had called for 'D' Company flags to be removed after they were erected outside Belfast Metropolitan College, close to the city centre.
William Humphrey, DUP MLA for North Belfast, last night said: "The history of 'D' Company is that they murdered soldiers and policemen and abducted people in their own area."
He said: "We had correspondence from someone in Barrack Street who said they don't want these flags up. These flags are there to mark out territory.
Mr Humphrey added: "The commemoration in Dublin had nothing to do with D Company. There was no historic connection here whatsoever."