Was Carnlough memorial ceremony ‘illegal parade?’

The unofficial Carnlough memorial to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising.INLT-13-700-con
The unofficial Carnlough memorial to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising.INLT-13-700-con

A DUP councillor wants police to investigate whether the unveiling ceremony for Carnlough’s Easter Rising memorial constituted an “illegal parade.”

The permanent concrete structure was unveiled, along with a temporary flag pole bearing the tricolour, at Hurry Head on Saturday March 26.

The unofficial Carnlough memorial to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising

The unofficial Carnlough memorial to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising

During the event, attended by sitting Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan and Councillor James McKeown, the flags of the four provinces of Ireland were processed for 50 metres from the gate to the site, after which the proclamation of the Irish Republic was read out.

The event has been condemned by Cllr Paul Reid, who is now calling for the PSNI to investigate the ceremony.

“I would like the PSNI to investigate this event and if it is found to be in breach of Parades Commission law I would call upon the PSNI to bring those who have breached the parades code to task,” he told the Times.

“I totally condemn such events being held on council property without permission being sought and given, especially when council elected members are standing. The Parades Commission must be notified of any form of parade.

Cllr Reid said he felt that the memorial should be removed.

“No permission was given or sought for any form of celebration of the Easter uprising on council propoerty in Carnlough, nor for the illegal erection of any memorial and I am asking for it to be removed,” he continued.

“This act could heighten tensions during the marching season in Carnlough around July 12 and August 12. This is going to stir things up in Carnlough and Glenarm. They are coastal villages which work very well together with rowing clubs but with the marching season close this will do nothing but heighten tensions.”

When asked if the unveiling ceremony for the Easter Rising memorial constituted a parade, a Parades Commission spokeswoman commented: “The Parades Commission has no record of receiving a 11/1 notice for a parade in Carnlough on March 25 and has received no evidence about the event which took place prior to this enquiry. Therefore, the Commission does not consider it appropriate to comment.”

When asked if the Parades Commision was planning to take any action over the event, the spokeswoman continued: “The Parades Commission has powers under the Public Procession (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 to consider, and where appropriate to place conditions on, notified parades and parade-related protests. The Commission has no role in the enforcement of its determinations nor has it any role in dealing with unnotified parades. Such matters are for the PSNI.

The PSNI had not provided a response at the time of going to press.