Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin MP Órfhlaith Begley says she did not object to police attending Omagh Pride parade

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Órfhlaith Begley. Picture by Brian Lawless, Press Association

Sinn Féin MP Órfhlaith Begley has insisted she did not object to police attending a Co Tyrone Pride parade, following reports she questioned whether it was "appropriate" if the PSNI had a recruitment stall at the event.

The West Tyrone MP said police should be "visible at the event" next month - the first ever Pride parade to be held in Omagh.

Omagh Pride organisers decided against having a PSNI stall at the event on September 25.

According to reports, during a meeting to discuss the event, Ms Begley had questioned whether it was "appropriate" to have a PSNI recruitment stall at the event.

Ulster Unionist MLA Mike Nesbitt described the remark attributed to Ms Begley as "extraordinary" and called on Sinn Féin to clarify its stance on policing.

"The PSNI exists for the entire community right across Northern Ireland. Its officers face risks on a daily basis as they carry out their duties," he said.

Ms Begley said she wants Omagh Pride to be "as inclusive as possible".

"Nicola Brogan MLA and I recently attended a meeting to discuss the upcoming Omagh Pride and we want to see the event being a success and as inclusive as possible," she said in a statement.

"In particular, it is important the PSNI are visible at the event in order to raise awareness of hate crimes directed against the LGBTQI+ community and I reflected that at the meeting.

"It is important to recognise that members of the LGBTQI+ community are within the police service and during the meeting at no time did we object to police attending Omagh Pride.

"It is important that policing is reflective of the entire community."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news