DUP councillor takes part in controversial parade to remember murdered UDA man Jim Guiney
A DUP representative was among dozens of Orange Order members involved in a march to mark the 25th anniversary of the murder of a leading UDA figure.
Alderman Paul Porter, a member of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, took part in the march to remember Jim Guiney who was shot dead by the INLA in 1998.
The march, organised by LOL 1981 in Derriaghy outside Lisburn, was condemned by political representatives and the mother of a teenager murdered by the UDA under its cover UFF cover name.
Mr Porter did not respond to a request for comment on his participation in the march. Those involved walked close to where the UDA killed 17-year-old Damien Walsh in 1993.
Guiney was shot dead during a period of blood-letting following the killing of Billy Wright in the Maze prison just after Christmas in 1997. The INLA claimed Guiney's assassination was in response to the UDA's involvement in the random killing of Catholics in Belfast following Wright's death.
The 38-year-old was targeted at his carpet shop in Dunmurry on January 19, 1998. At his funeral 16 men, some wearing Orange sashes, flanked his coffin, which was draped in a UDA flag and Glasgow Rangers jersey.
In a statement last night the DUP said the party has consistently "condemned all forms of paramilitary terrorism and glorification".
"As with others, friends and loved ones of Jim Guiney have the right to remember his murder whilst at the same time being mindful or other victims who also grieve."
Close to 100 people took part in the march, including members of the Lisburn Fusiliers Flute Band. The marchers walked from the Milltown shops to Derriaghy, Milltown Avenue and Milltown Crescent. Damien Walsh was shot dead at the nearby Dairy Farm centre in Dunmurry.
The Parades Commission was criticised for allowing the march to go ahead. Among those was Damien's mother Marian.
Mrs Walsh described the parade as "insensitive". "I would urge them to rethink it because it's sending out a message that they support paramilitarism," she said.
Alliance Party assembly member Sorcha Eastwood said she would raise the staging of the march with the Parades Commission.
Ms Eastwood said: "Not only is it glorifying the actions of a paramilitary group in an area where their impact is still being felt, but it could serve to retraumatise the loved ones of one of their victims close to where he was killed."
The Parades Commission, in a statement last week, said it was aware "of concerns about a proposed parade".
"The notified parade was subject to the commission's codes, which sets out clear guidance to be observed by participants to ensure those participating in public processions do so legally and peacefully, while at the same time minimising disruption, annoyance or offence to those who work and live on or near the route along which they pass."
The Orange Order has not responded to requests for comment.