It is a disgrace that the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) is being allowed to parade through the heart of Belfast on Sunday 2nd November. So much for the British government’s commitment to bringing communities in the north of Ireland towards peaceful cooperation. This act will upset and offend the majority of the Nationalist and Republican community. The RIR, and it’s forerunner the Ulster Defence Regiment, have an appalling history of harassment, intimidation, assault, even killings in the nationalist and republican community, as has the whole of the British army. The Government and unionists supporting this event need to understand the level of hurt and pain inflicted within the Nationalist and Republican community by the British army. It is still a running sore as no apology or statement of fault has been forthcoming from the government. It has been stated that the war is over, but it seems that the adage “The first casualty of war is truth” has been amended to become “The first casualty of the peace process is truth”!!? Perhaps the fact that Shaun Woodward, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was once part of the Conservative & Unionist Party means he can’t divorce himself from Unionist principles?
For the Nationalist citizens of Belfast, and those bereaved by the British Army, the parade is deeply offensive They have been treated as second class citizens throughout the existence of the Northern State. This march reinforces that position. Is this the message the British Government want to give those who have supported the peace process? Is the British Government committed to parity of esteem for all communities in the north of Ireland or still giving supremacy to the Unionists and Loyalists.
The March should not be allowed