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McKay condemns PSNI statement about Rasharkin parade‏

29 August, 2008

Ballymoney Sinn Féin councillor Daithi McKay has said that Rasharkin residents were angered by the statement made by the PSNI in the wake of last weekend's Ballymaconnelly parade through the village.

Councillor McKay said that the community would lose all confidence in the PSNI if they don't address the genuine concerns raised by local residents about policing operations at parades in the village.

Cllr McKay said:

"Last weekend residents were threatened by loyalists, who were invited to parade through Rasharkin by the Ballymaconnelly band. There are many in Rasharkin who feel threatened, intimidated and in fear of their lives, every year, when this annual parade is held. The vast majority of residents of this predominately nationalist village are opposed to this parade, as it stands. The fact that every business in the village has to close for the night is reflective of this.

"Residents have reported the threats made against them to the PSNI and expect them to be followed up. The police statement claiming 'no serious incidents' does not reflect the reality of what actually did happen.

"In previous statements the PSNI have confirmed that complaints had been lodged but on this occasion have omitted to do so, which has left residents feeling very angry. It is in line with previous incidents at Ballymaconnelly parades such as the burning of Tricolours in the street by loyalists which were also played down by the PSNI at the time.

"Threats against residents by self professed loyalist paramilitaries, are in my opinion, very serious threats indeed and the community here are rightly disgusted at the PSNI playing the matter down." ENDS

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