B LOODCURDLING tributes to UDA and UVF killers who took the lives of scores of innocent Catholics were openly on sale at the Ulster Covenant event in the grounds of Stormont on Saturday, we can reveal. And songs praising the loyalist paramilitary gangs were also blasted out from loudspeakers at the two mammoth stalls selling the CDs which occupied prime positions on either side of the Stormont drive.
This week two questions were asked in the Assembly of Finance Minister Sammy Wilson – the man with ultimate responsibility for the Stormont estate – about whether permission had been given for the shocking CDs to be sold at the heart of government and whether any rules and regulations are in place governing the sale of goods at Stormont. Stalls such as these are fixtures at large loyal order events such as the Twelfth and the Sham Fight at Scarva, although it had been expected that stringent rules would be in place at the home of the Northern Ireland Assembly. But it wasn’t to be.
Five days before the weekend Ulster Covenant commemoration, we asked the Stormont press office whether controls were in place over what would be sold at the Stormont stalls. They referred us to the estate manager who said that responsibility for items on sale on the day rested with event organisers, the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.
As well as the musical tributes to the UDA and the UVF, the stalls were selling CDs containing viciously anti-Catholic songs. And among the Glasgow Rangers songs for sale at the stalls was ‘The Famine Song’ – the anti-Irish song that sparked unrest and tension after it was played outside St Patrick’s church in Donegall Street on the Twelfth. The Stormont press office has asked for copies of our pictures and we’ve passed them on.