Page last updated at 17:44 GMT, Thursday, 9 April 2009 18:44 UK

Council backs homecoming parade

Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey
Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey were murdered last month

Councillors in Antrim have voted to hold a homecoming parade for the regiment of two soldiers shot dead at barracks in the town last month.

The motion was put forward by UUP councillor Adrian Watson, who said Sinn Féin was the only party to object.

He said the parade would be a fitting tribute to the soldiers, who were murdered by the Real IRA just before they were due to head to Afghanistan.

Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, were part of 38 Engineer Regiment.

Mr Watson said they wanted to involve their families in the parade.

"Ninety nine per cent of this community would be supportive, and if you're not supportive just stay out of Antrim for five minutes while it walks by," he said.

"You don't have to get out of your lazy bed to come down and be offended, just stay away."

He said no date has been set for the parade, but the regiment is due to return from Afghanistan in the autumn.

Alliance Party leader David Ford, who is also a councillor in Antrim, said the local community had close links with the regiment, which was given the freedom of the town two years ago.

"I think it's a measure of the level of concern across the whole Antrim community and indeed the way the people of the town stood together in that dreadful week," he said.

"It was accepted we should pay tribute to the Royal Engineers when they return from their dangerous duties in Afghanistan."

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