British Army vets call off march in Derry

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

Plans by British Army veterans to march through Derry next month have been scrapped.

It’s understood the Parades’ Commission was notified yesterday by the Justice for Veterans UK group that its application to parade to the city’s war memorial in the Diamond on March 4 was being withdrawn.

The army vets had initially said its march aimed to highlight ongoing “vindictive” criminal investigations involving former British soldiers.

However, its plan to hold a demonstration in Derry caused uproar with relatives of those killed by British soldiers branding the event “provocative” and “insulting”.

Dissident republicans had also vowed to confront the veterans during their parade.

Last night, John Kelly (pictured), whose brother was among those gunned down by British paratroopers on Bloody Sunday, welcomed the move.

“The initial decision to plan a march in Derry was an act of pure provocation and, given the history of the British Army in Derry, an insult to the people of the city,” he said. “It would have achieved nothing other than to incite anger and upset.

“The organisers’ decision to withdraw their application to march is the correct one. I would like to think their decision followed careful thought about the traumatic effect such a parade would have had on bereaved families. ”

The decision to cancel the event was also welcomed by Sinn Fein’s Raymond McCartney.

“The Bloody Sunday families quite rightly described the proposed march as provocative and Sinn Fein totally support their position on the matter. “However, given the news that the march will now not go ahead, we are content that the organisers have made the correct decision in the circumstances.”