Northern Ireland news

Hundreds of loyalists take part in memorial march

The parade passes the site of the former Ormeau Bakery in 2014 
Brendan Hughes

LOYALISTS are staging a march through south Belfast to glorify notorious UDA members linked to scores of sectarian murders during the Troubles.

Hundreds are due to take part in the parade from 7.30pm through the mixed Ormeau Road area to mark 21 years since the deaths of Joe Bratty and Raymond Elder.

The UDA men were linked to scores of Troubles killings including a 1992 gun attack on a Belfast bookmakers in which five Catholics were killed.

The Parades Commission gave the go-ahead to the march without significant restrictions despite the paramilitary commemoration causing outrage when it was first held last year.

It sparked controversy after an £11,000 memorial funded by the Housing Executive was used to honour UDA men including Bratty and Elder.

A temporary plaque with their names was fixed to the monument near Annadale Flats while UDA and UFF flags were flown from lamp posts.

Assembly members in recent days have condemned the parade and questioned the parades body's ruling.

The march has been organised by the Annadale Heritage and Cultural Society and is due to finish at about 10.30pm.

It leaves from Ballynafeigh Orange Hall, travelling along the Ormeau Road, Ava Avenue, Burmah Street, Kimberley Street, Sunnyside Street, Annadale Flats, Haywood Avenue, Haywood Drive, Candahar Street, Delhi Parade, Ava Avenue, Ava Street and Blackwood Street.

The PSNI has said "appropriate and proportionate policing resources" will be in place for the parade.

Bratty and Elder were shot dead by the Provisional IRA on the Ormeau Road on July 31 1994.

The notorious loyalist paramilitaries were widely believed to have been involved in the brutal murder of five Catholics at Sean Graham bookmakers on Ormeau Road in 1992.

Just weeks ago a senior UDA member said to have been involved in organising the 1992 gun attack was killed.

Colin 'Bap' Lindsay (47) was one of two men who died after a sword attack at Kirkistown Walk in the Belvoir estate on July 8.

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