Northern Ireland

Parades Commission places restrictions on Kingsmills march

the bullet riddled minibus near Kingsmills in South Armagh in which 10 Protestant workmen were massacred
Image caption The bullet-riddled minibus in which 10 Protestant workmen were massacred

A parade which will retrace the route taken by 10 Protestant workmen murdered in south Armagh in 1976 will go ahead with restrictions.

Ten textile workers were murdered in the IRA atrocity at Kingsmills.

The Parades Commission has limited the number of people taking part in the 25 February march.

It has also ruled that there should be no placards, flags or banners in the procession and that it begins and disperses promptly.

On Tuesday, SDLP and Sinn Fein representatives met the commission to voice opposition to the parade going through the village of Whitecross.

They said a parade through the mainly nationalist village would damage community relations.

"I have made representations on behalf of and in support of the residents affected by this blatantly inflammatory march and there is huge disappointment in the Whitecross area over the decision," said Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy.

"The people of the area want to be left in peace and rather than confronting the organisers, the Parades Commission has just created problems that could damage community relations in Whitecross and surrounding areas."

Bizarre

It would be the first time such a parade has been held.

After the commission's ruling, the parade will feature the one Protestant survivor of the attack, Alan Black, as well as two immediate relatives of each of those who were killed or injured in the attack.

It will follow the route the victims took in their minibus on the night they were murdered.

The march has been organised by Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (Fair).

William Frazer of Fair said the conditions imposed by the Parades commission were not acceptable.

Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy called the ruling "bizarre".

DUP MLA for Newry and Armagh William Irwin said none of the families wanted to cause offence.

"It is right that the relatives of those murdered in the Kingsmills massacre should be able to have a peaceful and dignified walk to highlight their campaign for justice," he said.

"They simply want to highlight that, after 35 years, no one has been brought to justice for the murder of their loved ones."

More on this story