Politician 'alarmed and disgusted' that uniform gardaí and police marched in Pride parade
A DUP councillor has expressed “alarm and disgust” that uniformed police officers were allowed to take part in Belfast’s Gay Pride parade on Saturday.
Last Saturday, uniformed officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Siochana took part in Belfast's Gay Pride parade for the first time.
They were greeted with massive cheers from the crowds who lined the city's streets for the annual event.
Around 40 uniformed officers from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and other UK police forces were among the 8,000 people who marched from Custom House Square in the city centre. They were watched by an estimated crowd of 15,000 people.
However, in an open letter to the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Alderman John Finlay said there was considerable anger over uniformed police in the parade and added that he had been inundated with complaints.
Mr Finlay, a DUP councillor in north Antrim, said allowing uniformed officers in the parade called into question the impartiality of the PSNI.
“Any claim by PSNI to be impartial now rings very hollow indeed. How can the PSNI be regarded as impartial when it formally and openly associates with one specific section of society?
“In this case, it is associating itself with a militant grouping which is lobbying for radical changes, not only to the definition of marriage, but to how society views human sexuality in general,” he said.
He asked whether uniformed officers would be allowed to take part in “an act of witness and protest against the gay pride agenda”.
“It will be difficult, if not impossible, for those involved in that event to have any confidence in the impartiality of the PSNI,” he added.
Mr Finlay said that many people have now suggested that the PSNI should encourage its officers who are Orangemen to take part in the Twelfth in full uniform.
“I could make many more suggestions. I suspect you will dismiss them, but a precedent has been set,” he added.