Northern Ireland

DUP and commissioner discuss children in paramilitary garb

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Media captionChildren in paramilitary uniforms took part in the republican parade

A DUP delegation has met the Children's Commissioner to raise concerns about the appearance of children in paramilitary uniform at a dissident Republican parade.

The party wants Patricia Lewsley-Mooney to investigate what they say is the exploitation of children.

The commissioner said she hoped the relevant authorities would hold people to account.

DUP MP Nigel Dodds described the meeting as "very positive and useful".

Ms Lewsley Mooney expressed deep concern following the incident in north Belfast on Easter Sunday.

The commissioner has an overseeing role to ensure agencies such as police and social services do all they can to keep vulnerable children safe, but cannot call for prosecutions.

Image caption Patricia Lewsley-Mooney has an overseeing role.

"It's not appropriate for me to say what an authority should or should not do," she said after her meeting with the DUP.

Mr Dodds said the police would be talking to social services about the matter.

"I think it's totally unacceptable that young children should be used and abused and exploited in this way for the purpose of the glorification of terrorism," he added.

A spokesman for the PSNI said all the circumstances surrounding this parade are being investigated and if any criminal offences are identified they will be reported to the Public Prosecution Service