Moyle District Chairman Padraig McShane visited new sports facilities in Bushmills one month after an official opening ceremony had to be abandoned.
Protesters gathered for the original event at Dundarave changing rooms to voice their opposition to Cllr McShane’s comments in the wake of comments he made including those following the Twelfth in Ballycastle.
Cllr McShane did visit the new council-owned facility on Wednesday 7 September prior to a reception at Moyle District Council offices for all those involved in delivering the £220,000 project.
He said afterwards: “I had a tour of the new facilities and they a credit to all those involved.
“Due to unfortunate circumstances we did not get to have an official ceremony to recognise those who delivered this marvellous building.
“It was a pleasure to meet with residents of the area who felt that the protests did not reflect the true spirit of the village.
“It is important to thank those professionals.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank them and the council staff especially who worked with the community to deliver this £220,000 project.”
Derwyn Brewster of Bushmills Residents and Environmental Forum declined an invitation to attend.
In a letter to Moyle District Council he wrote:
“I do not believe that Cllr McShane should be involved in the opening of the new facilities as he has failed to represent the whole community.
“The opening of Dundarave changing facilities should have been an opportunity to promote Bushmills but that opportunity was scuppered by the presence of Cllr McShane.
“The adverse publicity generated by the postponement of the official opening has been detrimental to the reputation of Bushmills and to community relations in Moyle.
“Cllr McShane must recognise that his actions have caused great offence to the vulnerable minority unionist community in Moyle and should therefore desist from involving himself in cross-community projects such as the official opening of Dundarave changing rooms.”