Man (20) arrested over alleged Facebook comments

A 20-year-old man has been arrested in relation to alleged sectarian comments made on a social networking site Facebook.

It is understood the arrest comes after Rasharkin Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay lodged a number of complaints with police regarding comments made on the site which he described as “anti-Catholic.”

Mr McKay said the comments began appearing after a controverisal Twelfth of July feeder parade in Rasharkin.

The North Antrim MLA said more comments appeared in the run-up to a Loyalist band parade in the Co Antrim village in recent weeks.

He claimed one comment allegedly stated that he should be shot.

Mr McKay said he made statements to the PSNI regarding the online messages.

“As far as I’m concerned these comments are incitement to sectarian hatred,” the MLA said. “There’s an onus on the PSNI to investigate this and bring whoever made these comments to book.”

A man was arrested on suspicion of incitement to hatred/arousing fear contrary to the Public Order (NI) Order 1987 and two offences of improper use of telecommunications contrary to the Communications Act 2003.

The man was interviewed and released on bail pending further enquiries.

Meanwhile, over the weekend there was a graffiti attack in the Rasharkin area.

Slogans were daubed on the front wall of St Mary’s GAA Club at Townhill Road between 2.30am and 3.30am on Sunday.

The attack was noticed by a passing police patrol shortly afterwards.

Daithí McKay called the incident a “shameless and cowardly attack”.

He added: “Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this year that this has taken place, but the good thing about it is both the Protestant and Catholic communities have condemned it outright.

“The people who attack GAA clubs or any symbolic buildings in this area, quite clearly represent nobody and they need to desist these activities because they absolutely serve no purpose and their agenda will not be responded to in any way.

“I call upon the community to ensure there’s no response or reaction to this attack and it should be ignored.2

North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey also condemned the attack.

“For too long some in our society have had a mindset that attacks such as this are acceptable. Whether it be a church hall, Orange hall or GAA hall it is wrong and should not be happening. All such attacks like this need to come to an end, particularly in the Rasharkin area.”

Police are appealing for anyone with information about the graffiti attack to contact them on 08456008000 or phone the Crimestoppers confidential freephone number on 0800555111.