Ballymena parade ends with sectarian chanting outside chapel
North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan has said that last night's Ballymena Protestant Boys parade through the north end of Ballymena was yet another example of the unacceptable behaviour of loyalists in that part of the town. The Ballymena Protestant Boys Band has carried UDA, UFF and UYM flags on numerous occasions and carries a bannerette referring to 'South East Antrim', the local UDA batallion area.
Mr McGuigan said:
"It was quite clear last night that this parade remains a sectarian coat-trailing exercise and this shows no signs of changing. There were numerous breaches of the Parades Commission determination including the playing of music at the Chapel roundabout and the display of loyalist paramilitary flags.
"There were also a number of bands that paraded which the Parades Commission were not notified of which is an extremely serious breach of the determination. The parade supporters gathered across from the chapel chanting 'U-D-A' all evening showed everyone what this parade is really about and it remains totally unacceptable.
"Sinn Féin workers are now in the process of putting together a report into the Parades Commission breaches at this parade and the loyalist paramilitary paraphenalia that was on display."
Ballymena Sinn Féin Councillor Monica Digney continued:
"It was interesting to note that the DUP Band turned down the invitation to participate in tonight's parade. They have paraded alongside loyalist paramilitary bands in Ballymena in the past, and I would hope that they will now discontinue their links with loyalist paramilitary bands and parades in this area as many nationalists interpret this as an endorsement of the UDA and UVF bands involved."ENDS
N.B. The following is a link to the host band's website which shows clearly how the band's official logo is the UFF logo and motto with the band's name at the top of it: http://www.proddyboys.com/site/default.asp?page=parades