Ireland St. Patrick's Day Parade Canceled After 'Massacre' Threat

A St Patrick’s Day parade due to take place today in Lurgan, Co Armagh, in Northern Ireland, has been canceled at the last moment because of tensions in the area following the murder of a police officer by the Continuity IRA eight days ago.

The decision was made Monday night at a meeting of St. Peter's Gaelic Athletic Association club, which organizes the event. Eleven people, including a woman, are being questioned about the murders of a policeman and two soldiers.

In a statement, the club said the "scenes of violence and destruction in Lurgan and Craigavon within the last seven days have created considerable anxiety and concern within the local community."

Over the weekend, police in Lurgan came under petrol bomb attack from rioters as they carried out searches in connection with the investigation into the Real IRA murder of two soldiers in Antrim March 7.

Last Friday Jackie McDonald, the leader of the Ulster Defense Association, Northern Ireland’s largest loyalist paramilitary group, told The Times he was concerned about graffiti in loyalist areas of Lurgan which referred to a "St Patrick’s Day massacre."

McDonald has been working to contain tensions arising from the spate of republican murders, which in the past would have sparked off a series of tit-for-tat retaliation attacks by loyalists, usually against soft targets such as innocent Catholic civilians.

St Patrick’s Day parades were continuing normally elsewhere, the largest taking place in Belfast, Downpatrick, Newry, Armagh and Londonderry.