North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has said that the failure to resolve issues around parades is taking much needed money away from the public purse.
Mr McKay was speaking after it was revealed that over £74,000 was spent on policing the Ballymaconnolly Parade in Rasharkin this year.
Mr McKay said: “At a time when every department, every organisation indeed every household is trying to minimise wastage in budgets it is absurd that millions are being spent policing parades, especially those where the organisers have made no efforts to reduce tensions or improve upon the situation which would lead to a reduction in such costs.
“Such money would have been much better spent on things that would benefit the health and well being of all the people living in this area and indeed it adds to the argument that those who organise contentious parades which drain the public purse should, in the absence of necessary restrictions placed on them, pay for the policing costs.
“£74,462 is a huge amount of money and if the parades situation here isn’t resolved the total amount for policing Ballymaconnolly parade in Rasharkin in recent years will soon reach the £1million mark.
“That is totally unacceptable and underlines the need for parade organisers here to resolve the issues around this parade by speaking with local residents.
“People here are sick sore and tired with not only the parade itself but in particular the effect that it has had on the community and relations in the area all year round. Pressure must be brought to bear on those who continue to allow this situation to worsen by their intransigence.”