Campbell blames dissidents for switch

A previous Justice For Veterans parade in Portadown, Co Armagh
A previous Justice For Veterans parade in Portadown, Co Armagh

East Derry MP Gregory Campbell has blamed threats from dissident republicans for forcing the cancellation of a march by British Army veterans to the Diamond War Memorial, which had been scheduled for Saturday.

The Justice for Veterans UK group, which has claimed that historical investigations in the North have been disproportionately focused against former soldiers, switched a planned parade in Derry to Coleraine after a counter-demonstration was called by the republican organisation, Saoradh.

Speaking in the House of Commons last week, Mr. Campbell said “significantly fewer than one per cent of all the people who served in the security forces, the army and the police in Northern Ireland were ever found guilty of, or even questioned about, breaches of law, while 100 per cent of the terrorists were most definitely guilty of such breaches.”

Referring to the cancelled march, Mr. Campbell commented: “A number of veterans groups had been organising events over the past few weeks to highlight the problems that we are highlighting today.

“One group attempted to organise a peaceful demonstration and the peaceful laying of a wreath at the War Memorial in Londonderry, but it was forced to cancel as a result of threats from dissident organisations.”

Mr. Campbell’s party colleague Jeffrey Donaldson told MPs that the forced cancellation of the demonstration was an infringement of the veterans’ civil liberties.

“There are some in Northern Ireland who talk much about respect, equality and discrimination; yet the same people were silent when it came to the violent threats made against veterans who simply wanted to exercise their civil liberty to march to the Cenotaph in Londonderry and lay a wreath in remembrance of their comrades - some respect and equality there,” claimed the Lagan Valley M.P.