Sir - Firstly I would like to praise the behaviour and restraint of the bands at the Ballymaconnelly parade two Friday nights ago. Again in the face of severe provocation they showed great dignity.
I however would like to mention the press statement released prior to the parade by Ballymoney Mayor Ian Stevenson and Rev John Murray. I am not in a position to comment on the authority of Rev Murray but for Ian Stevenson to describe himself as a ‘person of influence’ is the height of nonsense.
As a long standing member of a local band, I find it ridiculous that he did not walk with his own band in the parade and if he is under any other illusion, his statement had no sway on the parade whatsoever.
I have however a few questions for Ian Stevenson. Will he now arrange to meet with the Parades Commission and use his authority to influence future decisions in not just Rasharkin, but also Dunloy? Similarly will he also be meeting with the parish priest in Dunloy and issue a statement in an attempt to solve the dispute in the village, especially as he claims on his online DUP profile that his work includes ‘Contributing towards the end of the disgraceful treatment of the Loyal Orders in Dunloy’?
I personally view the joint statement as very hypocritical. Ian Stevenson got elected on the back of voters who feel the DUP represent the Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist community. The fact is that they have used various tactics such as fears of splitting the Unionist vote to gain their position of power and the fact is that many of these voters are far from happy with Ian Stevenson’s conduct.
Furthermore his profile and during the recent election, Ian Stevenson claimed to be a proud member of Dunloy Accordion Band. Surely a ‘proud member’ should have ignored the temptation to be a publicity monger and walked with the band.
Yours, Ballymoney resident
* In response Cllr Ian Stevenson said: “I could answer every comment from this anonymous writer but this would only prolong the attack and result in a tit-for-tat debate which would be of no benefit to anyone.
“If this anonymous writer would like to meet with me I am about the town often enough and would be more than happy to talk with them.”