Rasharkin residents escape bomb attack
Rasharkin residents escape bomb attack


Residents of the village of Rasharkin, County Antrim, were targeted by a loyalist pipe bomb during a sectarian parade last weekend.

The device was discovered shortly before the parade by the notorious Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerers Flute Band, involving up to 25 bands, passed through the mainly nationalist village.

Two nationalist residents groups - Rasharkin Residents’ Collective and Rasharkin Residents’ Association - held separate protests involving fifty people each on the village’s Main Street.

A number of Parades Commission determinations were breached by loyalist bands during the parade.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Daithi McKay praised the discipline of protesters despite the provocation.

“Many of the bands attempted to raise tensions by stopping and playing the Sash beside the protestors and again we seen paraphernalia from Unionist paramilitary groups including the UDA and UVF on display.

“However there has been no comment from any Unionist politicians condemning these actions in contrast to their recent statements on Republican commemorations.

“I also condemn those who left a pipe bomb in the village which achieved nothing more than adding to the disruption to local residents.

“The only way to resolve these contentious parades is through dialogue and I would urge the Loyal orders to engage with resident groups to resolve all outstanding issues.”


Elsewhere, a loyalist parade past St Patrick’s Church in Belfast took place on Sunday without serious incident yesterday despite fears of violence.

The church used by the nationalist Carrick Hill community is a favourite target for sectarian insults by loyalist marchers and their supporters.

Two ‘Royal Black Preceptory’ bands and up to 300 participants made their way past the church and nearby nationalist district of Carrick Hill as several dozen protesters looked on.

However, a Parades Commission determination restricting bands to hymn music while passing the area was broken.

Tensions in the area were high after hundreds of loyalists gathered at nearby Clifton Street Orange Hall to oppose a planned republican parade to Clifton Street Cemetery due to take place around the same time.

Residents have accused the Parades Commission of causing further confusion ahead of a Royal Black Preceptory ‘Last Saturday’ parade this weekend.

Up to 10 bands and 600 people are expected to take part in the parade which ended in violence last year.

The Royal Black Institution, which is linked to the Orange Order, has refused to say if it intends complying with a Parades Commission determination during a parade past St Patrick’s Church.

“We look forward to celebrating our culture on Saturday,” a spokesman said.

Carrick Hill Concerned Residents’ Group spokesman Frank Dempsey accused the Parades Commission of lacking consistency.

The spokesman warned there had been a “change of attitude” among Carrick Hill residents towards loyal order parades in recent weeks.

“I am sure the people of the Shankill area are [also] bewildered,” he said.

“They were allowed to play hymns this week and next week they are being told they can only play a single drum-beat passing Carrick Hill and hymns passing the church.

“What sort of message is that to be sending out to people?”

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