Cost of policing Loyalist parades ‘unacceptable’ – Cllr Willie Clarke MLA
Sinn Féin South Down MLA Cllr Willie Clarke has described the cost of policing Loyalist parades in Kilkeel during the summer marching season as an 'unacceptable drain on resources'.
Cllr Clarke made the comments after obtaining figures from the PSNI that showed the cost of policing band parades in the town was over £140,000.
Mr Clarke said:
"The cost of policing loyalist band parades in Kilkeel during the summer months is in excess of £140,000 which represents an unacceptable drain on vital resources that should be spent dealing with more pressing issues such as anti-social behaviour.
"It is important to remember that this figure only relates to Kilkeel which gives an indication of such how much money is spent on parades in towns and villages across the north. There are far too many Loyalist band parades in towns like Kilkeel which apart from raising tensions and causing disruption have to be policed at a significant cost to local tax payers.
"There is no point therefore, in Unionist politicians complaining about a lack of resources then justifying this type of expense. Our beleaguered communities are demanding better and more effective policing yet the excuse that is often used to justify the PSNI's failure to tackle rising levels of crime is lack of resources.
"Policing these types of parades on a weekly basis cannot be justified and the organisers of such events need to consider the amount of money being spent during the Loyalist marching season and the drain it has on what are very limited resources." ENDS