Irish Republican News · April 21, 2006
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Sectarian attackers ‘seen at parade’

Councillors in north Antrim have said members of a sectarian gang who stabbed a young Catholic last weekend were spotted on the sidelines of a parade by the Protestant Apprentice Boys organisation in Ballymena.

The teenage boy was stabbed close to Harryville Church on Saturday night.

Around 2,000 loyalists paraded through the north of the town on Monday afternoon and passed nationalist residents at the bottom of Market Road.

Ballymena councillor Monica Digney said she had received a number of complaints by local people concerned by the march.

“I have had a number of complaints from local people about members of the gang involved in the stabbing attack at the weekend literally dancing past locals standing at the bottom of Market Road,” the councillor said.

“The PSNI again seemed to turn a blind eye to loyalists drinking on the streets, something that seems to be a regular thing that occurs when loyalist parades are passing through the north of the town.”

North Antrim Sinn Féin councillor Daithi McKay was acting as an observer at the parade. He said the parade had been “awash with paramilitary paraphernalia”.

“We have noted at least 13 bands who were carrying loyalist paramilitary flags as well as many others who played The Sash continuously past Catholic houses and the All Saints Church,” he said.

“One band even had a full bannerette dedicated to Noel Kinner, a UVF member who was convicted for killing a Catholic in Belfast.

“The question must be asked why the parade organisers thought it appropriate to include bands with strong links to loyalist paramilitaries in a parade that was going to march past nationalist homes.”

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© 2006 Irish Republican News