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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tensions over new Saoradh office

Posted by Jim on December 31, 2017

Unionists have protested after republican party Saoradh opened a new
office in the centre of a County Tyrone town of Dungannon.

The group, which was formed last year, put signs up outside the office
in the town square in Dungannon last week. The square is often used as a
route for sectarian unionist parades and is home to a British Army war
memorial, prompting fears of confrontations.

The group describes itself as an “unashamed revolutionary party” and is
strongly left-wing — last week it condemned an open letter by prominent
nationalist professionals urging greater involvement by Dublin in the
North as “a Catholic Bourgeois letter”.

It already has offices in Derry and Belfast and national chairman Davy
Jordan said the party also intends to open an office in Dublin. It plans
to fly the Irish tricolour from its office in Dungannon on specific days
each year.

“We are definitely not meaning to cause offence to anybody, that’s not
the reason for being in the square,” Mr Jordan said. “We have as much
right to be in the square as anyone else.”

It is understood the new office will also function as a base for the
Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association, a support group for
republican prisoners.

Two signs bearing the image of 1916 Easter Rising leader Thomas Clarke,
a native of Dungannon, and Kevin Barry, a republican executed by the
British in 1920, also raised unionist hackles.

Ulster Unionist councillor Walter Cuddy said he was “disappointed” by
the development but powerless to prevent it.

“If they are a legal organisation and allowed to have an office we can’t
stop that in a democracy,” he said.

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