DUP East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has said the paramilitary parade at Peggy O’Hara’s funeral seemed to take place without a police officer in sight. This illegal parade on Saturday comes following a number of weapons being fired during an INLA show of strength around the casket on Wednesday evening in Londonderry.
Commenting Mr Campbell said,
“Several days ago my colleagues Gary Middleton MLA and Nelson McCausland MLA contacted the police after the INLA posed with guns and discharged several rounds over the coffin of Peggy O’Hara. Specifically the Party asked if the police had been present to video this event so that prosecutions could follow and further asked that the police be aware of the potential for more paramilitary activity at the O’Hara funeral on Saturday. We urged that the police ensure there is proper evidence gathering on the ground at the funeral.
Despite our efforts with the police, it would seem that there were no visible signs of police in close proximity to the funeral cortege on Saturday. Men and women dressed in paramilitary garb with faces covered were free to march, for almost two miles, around the streets of Londonderry.
If there are no prosecutions and no firsthand evidence has been gathered by the PSNI, this will have major repercussions for respect for law and order in this country.
Whilst loyalist bandsmen have been convicted for playing music in breach of a Parade Commission determination, it seems that INLA men and women can parade the streets of Londonderry, carry automatic weapons and discharge several rounds from guns without fear of prosecution.
Paramilitaries, regardless of hue or creed, have no place in our society. Police need to take robust action against all who break the law. It seems however that the police are treating some groups in some areas with kid-gloves thus leaving the impression that there is a two-tier justice system.
This is dangerous. The police and the Director of Public Prosecutions need to make urgent statements and explain what policing operation was in place in Londonderry and what action and when it will be taken against this illegal parade in the City.”