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.