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Disgust at PSNI providing rational for sectarian attacks

26 July, 2005

North Antrim Sinn Féin Assembly member Philip McGuigan has accused the head of the PSNI in Ballymena of being little more than a mouth piece for those loyalist gangs who are waging a campaign of violence against local Catholics in the area.

Mr McGuigan said:

"Last night unionist paramilitaries once again went on a rampage of violence against Catholics and nationalists in Ballymena, Martinstown and Rasharkin. The local PSNI Commander in response to this provides a rational that all of these attacks are linked to a proposal from a local flute band to march in Ballymena in August.

"He conveniently ignores the history of violent attacks in North Antrim carried out by unionist paramilitaries and his comments providing a rational behind what was little more than sectarian violence is disgusting. I have been contacted by local people today angry at the comments made and the fact that he ignores the real cause of the violence. This violence has little to do with a parade. It has all to do with an irrational hatred of Catholics and nationalists and the atmosphere which has been created in places like Ballymena by local unionist politicians and indeed by the PSNI.

"If this is an issue about a parade then let us as local representatives sit down with those proposing the parade route and seek a resolution to the issue. But even in that context nobody believes that all of a sudden the ongoing loyalist campaign against Catholics in North Antrim would be turned off. Given these remarks and the role open the PSNI in the UVF take over of a Belfast housing estate it is now becoming clear that the PSNI are part of the problem also." ENDS

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