Sinn Fein protest councillors to be reported to police

Two Sinn Fein councillors alleged to have taken part in an un-notified protest march through Armagh City will be reported to the PSNI, a DUP representative has said.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 5:04 pm
Many of those protesting in Armagh on Saturday carried pro-Palestinian flags, banners and posters

Councillor Darryn Causby said he is making arrangements to meet police, along with Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart, to make a formal complaint.

Around 100 people gathered in the city for what was advertised as a pro-Palestinian vigil in Market Street, however, a procession was formed later and marched to the Culturlann building approximately 500 metres away.

Walking from Market Street behind banners and an activist with a megaphone, the marchers chanted slogans as they made their way along Upper English Street as far as the junction with Cathedral Road.

There is no notified parade listed for Armagh on that date on the website of the Parades Commission.

Cllr Causby claims photographs and video footage show that two Sinn Fein councillors – Garath Keating and Brona Haughey – are participants in an un-notified march. Both said they attended the vigil but denied involvement in the march.

“I think there is evidence available to the police to suggest that this warrants further investigation... and I will be watching very closely to see the police response,” Cllr Causby said.

In recent weeks, a number of loyalist band members and supporters in the nearby Markethill area have been summoned to police interview under caution over their alleged participation in protests against the NI Protocol.

Cllr Causby also said he would also be lodging a complaint about the Sinn Fein councillors with the local government ombudsman.

“It was an organised parade and anybody looking at the video would see that,” he said.

When asked by the News Letter about his participation in the event in Armagh, Cllr Keating said he attended the vigil in Market Street but denied taking part in the march to the Culturlann.

As the head of the procession entered Upper English Street, Cllr Keating can been seen nearby with a large Palestinian flag pushing a child’s buggy.

Asked if he had knowingly taken part in an un-notified parade, Cllr Keating said: “I was in town on Saturday and attended the vigil, yes. I just attended a vigil in Market Street.”

Asked if he walked in the march, which was being led by an activist with a loud-hailer, he replied: “No.”

Cllr Haughey said: “I attended the vigil in Market Street and then I went about my business.”

A PSNI spokeswoman said police are aware of a number of parades on Saturday and were working to establish if any offences have been committed.

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