|Vol Sean McIlvenna RFB colour party with paramilitary uniforms.|
|Members of the Vol Sean McIlvenna RFB with 'replica' weapons|
The Volunteer Ed O'Brien Republican Flute Band from Wexford commemorates a member of the IRA who died 'on active service' on 18 February 1996. He was killed after a bomb he was carrying exploded prematurely on a London bus. Two other passengers and the driver of the bus were also injured and when police searched O'Brien's home they found 15 kg of semtex. The inquest into his death heard that O'Brien was probably responsible for planting a similar bomb in a London telephone box on 15 February but it was deactivated by the police. These explosions came just days after the London docklands bombing (Canary Wharf bombing) on 9 February, in which 2 people were killed
The Volunteer Billy Reid Republican Flute Band was named after Billy Reid from the New Lodge area of North Belfast. He was killed on 15 May 1971 during a gun-fight with soldiers. According to local sources he was the IRA who shot Robert Curtis, the first soldier to be killed by the IRA in the Troubles. The band was formed in Scotland 1978 but has now been renamed the Parkhead Republican Flute Band because of disagreement with Sinn Fein and mainstream Irish republicanism. Apparently the family of Billy Reid still back mainstream republicanism.
The report also contained this observation: 'At a time when republican flute bands seem to be dwindling, it's uplifting to see a new RFB on the road, it's also a welcome development for Eirigi who are growing from strength to strength.'
It has also been referred to as the Volunteers Patricia Black and Frankie Ryan Memorial Flute Band - Black and Ryan were Provisional IRA volunteers who were killed on 15 November 1991 when a bomb they were handling exploded prematurely. The two terrorists were killed by their own bomb.
The practice of incorporating the word Volunteer in the name of republican flute bands seems to be restricted to Scotland and the Irish Republic but such bands do come across to Northern Ireland and should be subject to the same rules as other bands, that they should not carry or wear anything that associates them with proscribed or terrorist organisations. This is an issue that the Parades Commission has ignored for far too long.