Ballymoney DUP Alderman John Finlay has praised Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute band for an excellent annual parade in Rasharkin on Friday night, but has condemned the sectarian protest and the attacks on cars after the parade was over.
Alderman Finlay said, “Once again, Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute band is to be congratulated on yet another excellent band parade in Rasharkin on Friday evening. Sadly, in sharp contrast with the dignified behaviour of those taking part in the parade and their supporters, the behaviour of those who protested left much to be desired. In fact, they brought disgrace upon themselves and revealed yet again that their agenda is essentially one of sectarian intolerance. Rather than allow the parade to proceed unmolested, they took to the streets to protest, and some of their behaviour was extremely provocative and totally unacceptable. Then, after the parade was over, cars belonging to spectators were stoned by republicans.
The PSNI also have questions to answer. I was disappointed by the failure of the police to prevent the attacks on cars. In my view, more officers should have been present at the pub and right along main street till the crowds disperse
If we are to move forward in relation to parades, then good behaviour must be rewarded and bad behaviour punished. It is vital that the Parades Commission learns lessons from last night in advance of next year’s Ballymaconnelly parade”.