North Antrim MLA Robin Swann has warned the Parades Commission that “it urgently needs to wind its neck in and stop creating hardships for the Protestant community”.
The UUP Chairman of the Stormont Public Accounts Committee spoke out in the aftermath of the annual Rasharkin band parade amid claims republicans pelted parade supporters with missiles.
Mr Swann, a past Master in both the Orange and Black Institution and the UUP Chief Whip said: “The annual parade itself passed off peacefully because of the dedication, discipline and professionalism of those on the march and supporters watching.
“The same mature tolerance cannot be said for the supporters of the so-called ‘Rasharkin Residents Collective’.”
He added: “The Parades Commission needs to also seriously wind its neck in and recognize that the annual Rasharkin band parade has taken place peacefully and professionally in the village for many years.”
He added: “It is the Parades Commission which is ultimately responsible for the trouble in Rasharkin, not the bands on the march.
“Long-term, the Parades Commission must be disbanded as it has become the root cause of many parading issues, not the solution.
“I also call on the police to fully investigate the claims of missiles being thrown at band supporters as cars were leaving Rasharkin and, if necessary, bring the guilty before the courts.”