Plea for peaceful parade

NORTH Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has said that people in Rasharkin want to see as little disruption as possible in the village this Friday night at the Ballymaconnolly band parade.

He said that he hoped that the Parades Commission would take this into account when announcing their restrictions on the parade. At the time of going to press the Commission had yet to make a determination.

Mr McKay said: “People in Rasharkin want to see Friday night’s parade pass off peacefully and with as little disruption to the village as possible. “The Residents Association have made clear that parades can and will be accommodated if they are proportionate to a village this size; if they are not intimidatory or disruptive to the village or its residents.

Last year’s parade passed off with no major incidents reported.

There was a strong police presence and the situation was helped when the then Mayor of Ballymoney, Councillor Ian Stevenson, stood shoulder to shoulder with the local Parish Priest which many acknowledged helped defuse tensions.

Ballymaconnelly band have distanced themselves from engaging in exchanges with politicians on the parade and stress they co-operate with the authorities to ensure a trouble free event.