he Brian Robinson memorial band parade in the Shankill road area of West Belfast
Cops kept a low profile yesterday as thousands of loyalists descended on the Shankill Road in Belfast to parade in honour of a UVF killer. Almost 100 bands with 2,500 cheering supporters took to the streets and dwarfed a tiny police presence at the controversial march for Brian Robinson.
And when our snapper started to take photos of the display, a muscle-bound hood threatened: “Put that camera down or lose it.”
Sunday Life spotted only a handful of cops round the perimeter of the parade with some loyalists dancing in front of their patrol vans and videoing the event.
The massive parade went ahead despite pleas from the family of a Catholic man blasted to death by loyalist murderer Robinson.
Minutes later a motorbike that was carrying the gunman, being driven by a second UVF man Davy McCullough, was rammed off the road by members of the 14th Intelligence Company – one of the army’s primary covert surveillance units.
Robinson was shot four times at close range by a female agent. Robinson’s mum Margaret collapsed and died of a heart attack when she heard of her son’s death, and the pair were buried the same day.
The army shooting sparked loyalist claims that Robinson had been shot unnecessarily – but there have also been allegations that he was set up by his own people in the UVF.
Murals in the Shankill emblazoned with his head now proclaim: “Shot by cowards”.
Last week, the nephew of Robinson’s victim pleaded with the Parades Commission to “wise up” and stop letting the parade go ahead in honour of his uncle’s murderer.
Gerard McKenna fumed: “It’s totally hypocritical and in sick taste. I can’t understand why the Commission keep letting it happen.”
Despite his pleas, the march went ahead and was almost twice its normal size.
The march sparks controversy every year because of its paramilitary trappings – with countless UVF banners on display and so-called “shows of strength” at the Robinson murals.
However, it passed off peaceful yesterday.