An SDLP Belfast councilor has demanded an explanation from an Ulster Scottish organization after a number of groups taking part in a parade for Brian Robinson received nearly £40,000 in funding.
a Shankill Road was paralyzed last weekend when thousands turned out to honor UVF killer Brian Robinson during the annual march.
The UVF gunman was shot dead by plainclothes soldiers on Crumlin Road in September 1989, minutes after he murdered Catholic Paddy McKenna in the Ardoyne shops.
The paramilitary group pays tribute to him the first weekend of September each year with a grand parade organized by his unit of Company B.
North Belfast Councilor Carl Whyte has now secured funding which has been awarded to a number of groups taking part in the parade who have received nearly £40,000 from the Ulster Scots Agency’s Covid-19 Resilience Fund.
According to the Ulster Scots Agency, the funding “aims to support the organization of small community events in Ulster-Scots communities” and groups are required to apply.
Mr Whyte said he had written to the Minister for Communities and to the agency itself about the matter.
“It is amazing that a number of groups who regularly take part in the commemoration of a UVF killer who murdered an innocent Catholic have received almost £40,000 in government funding to support organizations during the Covid-19 pandemic” , said Mr. Whyte.
“It is outrageous that these groups received this money at a time when many businesses were struggling to keep the lights on and we were all facing the pressures brought on by the pandemic.
“I have written to the Chief Executive of the Ulster Scots Agency to ask what controls were in place before this funding was granted and for an explanation of how bands engaged in this type of activity have been deemed worthy of this support.
“I have also contacted the Minister of Communities to ask her to ensure that government funding is not used by bands that participate in events of this nature and to review the oversight structures in place to ensure this never happens again.
“The tradition of the group is an important part of our history and our cultural landscape and I recognize the sensitivities we have around commemorations, but all events like this insult the memory of the victims of these organizations and re-traumatize their families and their relatives.
“Government money should not be used to support those involved in the commemoration of sectarian murderers, no matter what part of the community they come from.”
Earlier this week, a survivor of the UVF bombing in Dublin in 1974 said trade unionists who criticize Republicans for honoring IRA members but pay tribute to loyalist killers are guilty of double standards.
The Ulster Scots Agency and the Department for Communities have been contacted.