Finlay congratulates Ballymaconnelly Band

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Ballymoney DUP councillor John Finlay has congratulated Ballymaconnelly Flute Band for their conduct at Friday night’s parade in Rasharkin.

“Despite yet another disgraceful but entirely predictable ruling by the Parades Commission and the provocative behaviour of some militant Republican elements in Rasharkin, I am delighted that Friday evening’s annual band parade, organised by Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors flute band, has passed off peacefully and successfully.

“I also want to thank all the other bands and supporters who gathered in Rasharkin in solidarity with the Sons of Conquerors. I warmly congratulate them for displaying great restraint in the face of the Parade Commission’s decision to once again radically reduce the size of the parade and impose absurd restrictions on its duration.

“Of course as we well know this summer, the Commission seems to have an endless desire to appease bully boys and punishing law abiding citizens. Yet again, the Commission has bowed to pressure from the so-called Rasharkin Residents who are intent on confrontation, provocation and incitement.

“And yet, rather than stand up to such a group, the totally discredited and inept Parades Commission seems quite willing to appease and encourage it. We urgently need a new parading adjudication arrangement which will uphold the right of peaceful assembly and reject the spurious claims of so-called residents groups. Justice demands that this happens without delay.

“Another big issue was the the fact that bands were prevented from carrying legal flags. While every Protestant was insulted by the sight of Irish Tricolours flying in Rasharkin. It’s time for their removal.”