Finlay hits out at ‘Facebook bomb threat’

BALLYMONEY DUP councillor John Finlay has hit out over comments he says were made on in the run up to the Ballymaconnelly Annual Band Competition in Rasharkin on Friday 19th August.

He claimed comments were made on Facebook by a Republican “who stated that members of the Ballymaconnelly Band and participants taking part in the band competition should be blown up using a 500lb bomb.”

Cllr Finlay said discussion surrounded the destruction that could be caused to the village and residents and that it would be more appropriate to use “a smaller bomb”.

Cllr Finlay added: “A band member, whose father was murdered by the IRA, was targeted by protestors on the night as they shouted at him “where’s your father now!?”

Cllr Finlay has branded the comments as “sickening” and reported the comments to the PSNI.

Cllr Finlay said: “These comments reflect the hatred and intolerance of Republicans with regard to Protestants in the area. Both demonstrate intolerance, hatred and bigotry never mind incitement to terrorism. I have passed these onto the PSNI for investigation.

“The comments are an attack on members of the Protestant community and members of the Ballymaconnelly Band, many of whom live in the village.

“No one should be subject to such a threat, especially when a form of ‘ethnic cleansing’ is implied by murdering all of the participants in the parade, which is a highlight of the band’s calendar year for many.

“It was only last year that security services had to deal with a bomb which turned out to be a hoax, left beside the Orange Hall. This not only put band members and spectators at risk but local residents.

“These comments reflect the sick and disgusting mind of a group of individuals and I totally condemn them. I also urge leaders from within the Republican community to do likewise.

“Year after year I fear for the safety and well being of the bandsmen who are continually subject to verbal and physical abuse by Republican protestors who are permitted to be there to protest by the Parades Commission.

“However, there is more than a protest going on; it is abuse directed towards the members of the Protestant community which is appeased by the PSNI and Parades Commission. If this is the sort of hatred and intolerance being bred within the Republican community in the village I fear for the future,” said the local DUP councillor.