“We don’t approve of young children engaging in this type of activity…”

The Belfast Telegraph has an update from the Ti Chulainn Cultural Centre in Mullaghbawn, south Armagh – where children, some of primary school age, were photographed in October wearing balaclavas, combat jackets and trousers, dark glasses and berets, and brandishing replica weapons including AK47s and Armalites.  From the Belfast Telegraph update

The Ti Chulainn centre in south Armagh has said that children dressed up as paramilitaries armed with replica weapons on its premises hadn’t “been part of an organised event” in the centre but were “in the care of an adult to view an exhibition”.

A statement said: “We don’t approve of young children engaging in this type of activity. We will be reviewing our policy regarding supervision to ensure a similar occurrence doesn’t take place in future.”

Hmmm… Is that a plausible denial?

And that ‘adult’ wouldn’t happen to be the Lurgan Sinn Féin member who posted the photographs on a social networking site?

Speaking of implausible denials, the next day there was an illegal parade to the Ti Chulainn Cultural Centre in Mullaghbawn – as a separate Belfast Telegraph report notes

A Parades Commission spokesman said: “Police must receive 28 days’ notice of an intention to march — they then inform us. This didn’t happen, so the parade wasn’t legal.”

A PSNI spokesman said: “Police can confirm a complaint has been made and an investigation is under way into a report of this parade. No relevant paperwork from the organisers was received by police prior to the event.”

The illegal march was openly reported on the Ogra Sinn Fein website. It stated that Sinn Fein members from across Ireland took part in the march for the unveiling of a monument to 24 dead IRA men.

Martin McGuinness gave the oration. Conor Murphy made presentations to the dead IRA members’ families. A Sinn Fein spokesman yesterday confirmed the ministers had taken part in the parade, but claimed it wasn’t organised by Sinn Fein.

He said an “administrative oversight” by a “local commemoration committee” meant notification hadn’t been given for the march. Neither the Sinn Fein ministers nor anyone else taking part were aware that “the proper paperwork hadn’t been submitted,” he added.

As the report also notes

The PSNI has adopted a hard line with other illegal republican parades.

In January police filmed those at a dissident republican prisoners’ march in Lurgan. Officers with loud-hailers warned marchers the parade was illegal and they could be prosecuted. Four people were later arrested and files sent to the PPS.

Prominent independent republicans were also arrested following an illegal commemoration in Co Tyrone last September.

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  • Nope its not a plausible denial…..but its the best that they can come up with.
    Does it really matter? Dont think so. Good way to spend a summer day to be honest and it wont put me off going.
    Illegal Parade? A bit of a technicality if nobody actually knew or cared about it at the time.

  • The Word

    The Shinners are engaged in a deceit that serves no-one, even themselves, at this moment. A challenge to Christianity? Certainly not.

    Deeply unhappy people cannot lead the world to safety. All they can do is make others unhappy, and even they don’t want that. But I know some people want that for them. Back seat drivers serve no-one but themselves.

  • ranger1640

    Where was MP and his trusty camera when the illegal parade was taking place? I hope the cops do the right thing in regard to McGuinness, Murphy and the rest of the IRA/Sinn Fein rabble. Strange that an illegal parade from an IRA monument to a shinner run non community centre was not organised by Sinn Fein, Sinn Fein or not Sinn Fein that is the question. A Sinn Fein turd by any other name is still a Sinn Fein turd.

  • Mark

    So what … 20 yrs ago these ” kids ” were been schooled a lot differently . Now they’re dressing up playing freedom fighters – would you prefer if the guns were real Ranger ?

    There’s been a lot of talk about tradition recently .. and that’s what was happening there .

    How do you decommission a piece of carved wood ?

  • ranger1640

    As it has been said before one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. So we can take it by your comments Mark that you approve of children roll playing at terrorists Mark.

    Must be great in your house Mark, all that roll playing at being Thomas Begley, the child killer or Freddy “Stakeknife” Scappaticci, the torturer or Daniel McCann, or Sean Savage who just wanted to bomb terrorists and if there are any girls playing they can imagine at playing at Mairead Farrell. Christmas day at your house Mark, must be fun with all these children pretending to be terrorists. The children running around, pretending to shoot and pretending to bomb men, women and children.

  • Reader

    fitzjameshorse1745: Illegal Parade? A bit of a technicality if nobody actually knew or cared about it at the time.
    Um, yeah. Because what we really need this summer is for everyone to ignore the parades commission, cross their fingers and just go for it.
    And if anyone comes forward to complain about it, well, we know where they live, eh?
    I’m disappointed that you don’t seem to have thought this one through. The real value in the parades commission – the factor has made each marching season less contentious than the last – is that it has imposed consistency and equality. Your remark abandons at least one of those principles.

  • Cynic2

    I didn’t know it was illegal isn’t a defence.

    So will Marty and Conor be prosecuted,

  • Mark

    What do you think Cynic2 ?

  • But isnt that exactly the problem.
    Chaps highlighting their rights to march or object drew attention to all kindsa harmless little parades dotted all over the western counties.
    Wouldnt it be great if we could get back to those days?
    All it takes is for someone to say “I dont think we will go where we arent wanted” and hundreds of harmless wee nonsenses could all take place again.
    Im surprised Im the only one who thought of it.

  • Zig70

    For those that don’t know, the Ti chulainn is on the side of Slieve Gullian. Very quiet, beautiful spot. I’d recommend all military style parades take place in a forest up the side of a mountain. Plenty of fresh air. Also very few in Mullaghbawn read the Belfast Tele and won’t hear the fuss.

  • between the bridges

    what a wonderful democratic and accountable country we live in! two ministers take part in an illegal activity and no one calls for them to resign? i demand that art garfunkel and Herman muster do the honorable thing and fall on their swords…
    (wooden ones of course)

  • fordprefect

    Ranger,
    Must be great in your house too! Do you tell your kids it’s great to blow people to pieces at wedding parties in Iraq and Afghanistan (and now, presumably, in Libya?). I remember as a kid playing “cowboys and indians” and sometimes wore a mask like the Lone Ranger. Remember this was kids and the “weapons” were toys! How do you think the family of Paddy McKenna feel when a crowd of eejits want to march past the Ardoyne shops with a banner emblazoned with the face of the Dickhead that killed him held aloft? That Dickhead was wearing a mask when he shot Mr. McKenna. As for McGuinness and Murphy, I couldn’t give a toss about them.

  • Brian

    “The Shinners are engaged in a deceit that serves no-one, even themselves, at this moment. A challenge to Christianity? Certainly not.”

    Challenge to Christianity? Say what?

  • Mark

    Fordprefect,

    I was just going to use the cowboys and indians analogy but I see that great minds and all that …

    I’d imagine if Mr Ranger1640 is/was ex army , he’d have come accross a few cowboys himself…

  • Cynic2

    “We don’t approve of young children engaging in this type of activity. ”

    …..so why all those machine guns on display? Why were children allowed in?

    ….. and have PSNI begun an investigation into the child protection issues? If not, why not?

  • Cynic2

    By way of balance – doesn’t Pete the Prod have a few convictions himself in connection with parades

    Whats sauce for the goose ……

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    ‘Illegal Parade? A bit of a technicality if nobody actually knew or cared about it at the time.’

    Sounds fair enough. From now on all potential march organisers can decide if anyone is likely to ‘care’ about their parade. If they think someone might be offended they can apply to the parades commission, if not sure what the hell.

    An excellent idea that will save a lot of hassle for everyone.

  • Down with this sort of thing.

  • between the bridges

    i am all for educating the young, to the checkered history of the low density genocide. but i feel it needs some balance..where was the mock up of a bomb aftermath? no dummy bodies by the road side?

  • granni trixie

    I have a kind of rule of thumb about this kind of thing (which FJH does not appear to possess). If I consider something not good enough for my own children/grandchildren then I certainly wouldnt think it good enough for anybody’s.
    As a teacher I am also horrified not at a parade but at adults not seeing the disservice they are doing to the young in passing on paramilitary traditions in the name of fun. .

  • I do possess a thumb.
    In fact I have two.
    I am a firm believer in loco parentis. And Im not a big fan of the Early Learning Centre approach that says “Action Man” or “Barbie” are bad.
    Dressing kids up paramilitary style……as my American friends would say……”its adorable”.

  • between the bridges

    fjh if it’s so adorable to dress kids up as ira asu, why not show them a few photo’s of the victims? (close up of a shot to the back would be the most common) would that be ‘its adorable’ or just too (real) ira

  • Well there are two ways of looking at this…but the main one has to be “parental choice”. And rather surprisingly my own children are quite functional.
    Some might deplore children in paramilitary uniiform but not military uniform because they see a moral difference.
    Perhaps they are right. I would not presume to lecture them. They would not presume to lecture me.
    For example…..there is no alcoholic drink within this house. I dont drink myself at all but its a constant source of surprise to me that parents are prepared to expose their children to alcohol. Or swearing. Or video games. Or the Orange Order. Or kick the Pope bands. Or Scarva Sham Fight.
    But I dont lecture them.
    As I am myself rather interested in militaria, I consider nothing more entertaining that wandering over a battlefield……from Ireland, Scotland, north of England, Belgium, Virginia, Maryland, North & South Carolina.
    My children when young have often accompanied me, finding a few things here and there.
    Id like to believe that I put these things in context for them and perhaps even given them rather graphic (but age appropriate) ideas of what a battle is actually like.
    I have also because of my own experiences in the 1970s given them ideas on what the Troubles were really like. Not quite as funny as the Martin Lynch play.
    There is of course a downside..being interested in militaria or military history often attracts freaks and I just dont mean the Confederate re-enactors I met last year.
    And I have a tendency to avoid such people like the plague…because they are often to the right of Atilla the Hun. People who glorify discredited armies and regiments such as the Rhodesian Army, Waffen SS, Green Berets, French Foreign Legion, British Paras.
    Not my scene at all.

  • between the bridges

    fjh. cheers for the lecture from the non-lecturing… any chance of actually answering the question? re the demon drank, i would say a bottle buckie would loosen you up a bit old chap.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    FJH I notice you didn’t include PIRA in your list of discredited armies. Admittedly it’s a bit of a stretch to refer to them as an army.

    Discredited though certainly, in that they deliberately targetted civilians, killed more of their own community than the opposing army did, achieved none of their objectives and decommissioned unilaterally.

    The problem with encouraging kids to glorify them is that their guerilla/terror campaign was anything but glorious. Blowing up shoppers, children and workmen, kneecapping civilians and shooting people in bed/church/collecting census forms isn’t exactly something to be proud of, particularly when it achieved absolutely nothing and never had the slightest chance of doing so.

    Much better that these kids were told about our squalid, pointless little conflict, which all sides should be ashamed of and that absolutely must never happen again.

  • Well there ya go.
    I guess I am just morally inferior. A child of a lesser God.

  • fordprefect

    Mark,
    Thank you.
    Bridges,
    Should they have laid down (with tomato sauce, of course), and pretended to be the victims of Bloody Sunday? That would suit you, wouldn’t it? The British “Army” does no wrong! LOL

  • granni trixie

    Nowadays the interests of the child are paramount – not “parental choice”. By your logic FJH, its ok to sign up your kids for junior IRA? ‘Enourage’ them to learn how to learn to riot or make petrol bombs to lob at passing motorists?

  • between the bridges

    WordPerfect if anyone is going to give a truthful account of the low density genocide if will have to include the victims, anyone who try’s to moral supremely over what was a disgusting vile evil part of our shared history is a fool, as you already know, the answer to everyting is 42.

  • Munsterview

    Given the topic, this may be of interest ?

    NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

    COMMISSIONERS QUERIED ON MILITARISATION OF CHILDREN

    The Celtic League has followed up correspondence to the Northern Ireland Children’s Commissioner, on the militarization of children (via the operation of cadet forces) and also recruitment in schools, by writing (in similar vein) to the Commissioners in Scotland and Wales (see below):

    “Tam Ballie
    Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People
    85 Holyrood Road
    Edinburgh
    EH8 8AU

    01/04/11

    Dear Mr Baillie,

    I draw your attention to the attached correspondence we forwarded recently to the Northern Ireland Children’s Commissioner following concerns she articulated about the militarisation of young people.

    We have outlined concerns in relation to the operation and role of cadet forces and the opportunity that they provide for young children to train with heavy calibre weapons.

    We also outline our view that although exercising a `distanced approach’ to cadet forces the UK MOD has a direct input and procures a direct benefit from their operation.

    We also express reservations about the way in which military recruitment is targeted.

    We urge you to ensure that the operation of cadet forces and armed forces recruitment practices in Scotland complies with `the spirit’ and letter of international standards designed to prohibit the militarisation of children.

    Yours sincerely

    J B Moffatt (Mr)
    Director of Information”

    Related article on Celtic News here:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3621

    J B Moffatt (Mr)
    Director of Information
    Celtic League

    01/04/11

    The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works
    to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a
    broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights
    human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on
    socio-economic issues.

    TEL (UK)01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609

    Internet site at:

    http://celticleague.net
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/