Northern Ireland

Parades Commission accused of 'not caring' about victims or families over Orange Order march to 'honour' UDA man

UDA member Jim Guiney
UDA member Jim Guiney UDA member Jim Guiney

THE mother of teenager murdered by loyalists has accused the Parades Commission of not caring about “victims or their families” over its handling of an Orange Order parade organised to “honour" a dead UDA man.

Marian Walsh has also accused the Orange Order of ‘burying its head in the sand’ over the planned parade to mark the 25th anniversary of Jim Guiney, who was shot dead on the outskirts of west Belfast by the INLA 25 years ago this week.

At his funeral 16 men, some wearing Orange sashes, flanked his coffin, which was draped in a UDA flag and Glasgow Rangers jersey.

Ms Walsh, whose son Damien (17) was killed by the UDA/UFF as he worked at the Dairy Farm shopping centre near Twinbrook in March 1993, has urged the Orange Order to "rethink" the parade.

She has also raised her concerns directly with the Parades Commission.

Ms Walsh last night said she was told by a commission official that it is satisfied with assurances it has been given by the Orange Order that there will be no paramilitary emblems.

Ms Walsh said she was also told the event will be monitored by both the commission and PSNI.

Despite repeated approaches the Orange Order has made no public comment about the parade, organised by LOL 1981, which will take place in the Derriaghy area, near Lisburn, on Saturday.

Earlier this week the Parades Commission said it has been made aware “of concerns about a proposed parade”.

However, it refused to confirm if it has been touch with the parade organisers saying “as per its procedural rules, all evidence provided to the commission by interested parties, whether written or oral, is treated in confidence.”

The spokesman added that “based on the information available, no further conditions have been applied”.

Ms Walsh spoke of her disappointment with the Parades Commission.

“Well I think it’s obvious from their statement that they really don’t care about the feelings of the victims or their families….even though the community nearby that have suffered so much are objecting to it,” she said.

“The Parade Commission are just prepared to let this go ahead regardless, so it is extremely insensitive, as I say, of them to do this - the Parades Commission as well as the Orange Order.”

Of the Orange Order’s failure to comment on the controversy Ms Walsh added: “I think it’s just typical of their attitude to anything controversial - bury your head in the sand and think it will just go away.”

The Orange Order was contacted.

The Alliance Party, Sinn Féin and SDLP have raised concerns about the parade.

A spokesman for the Parades Commission said it has received a representations from political representatives and “interested parties”.

“Based on the information available, the notified parade will be subject to the commission’s code of conduct which sets out clear guidance to be observed by participants to ensure that those participating in public processions do so legally and peacefully, while at the same time minimising disruption, annoyance or offence to those who work or live on or near the route along which they pass,” he said.