Independent nationalist councillor Padraig McShane was attacked and left bleeding from his head in the most serious incident arising from the ‘Twelfth’ parades by the anti-Catholic Orange Order on Tuesday.
Video footing of the incident during the parade in Ballycastle, County Antrim shows a provocative and disturbing confrontation with loyalists, many of whom are masked.
Amid taunts and after apparently being spat upon, the councillor is punched, dragged down and handcuffed by heavy-handed PSNI police. Loyalists and Orangemen are then seen to dance around his head as he lies injured and bleeding on the ground.
It is understood Mr McShane had been taunted by the marchers about a loyalist arson attack which destroyed his Ballycastle home in 2014.
A Facebook post by one of the loyalist bands involved in the incident subsequently urged followers to ‘KAT’ (Kill All Taigs/Catholics).
The councillor has said he is to make a complaint to the Police Ombudsman over the arrest and that his legal team will be examining footage from the incident. His lawyer Michael Brentnall said a complaint has been forwarded to Dr Michael Maguire’s office.
“We have forwarded a number of substantial grounds of complaint to the Police Ombudsman’s office in relation to the behaviour of PSNI officers during the incident which led to Mr McShane’s arrest,” he said.
“Furthermore we have asked them to investigate the fact that Mr McShane was struck a number of times by PSNI officers whilst on the ground, a fact corroborated by video footage.” He also said out that Mr McShane was threatened and assaulted by loyalists.
There had been opposition by the former Sinn Fein councillor and other local residents to the parade through the predominately nationalist town. Mr Brentnall said that the Parades Commission refused to consider a request by nationalists submitted late on Monday to hold a protest.
“The Parades Commission need to advance their rationale for their decision to deem this parade non-contentious and why they refused to consider a late application for a protest by residents,” he said.
Sinn Fein assembly member Daithi McKay has called on the Parades Commission and Orange Order to take action to prevent one of the bands involved, Dervock Young Defenders, from taking part in future sensitive parades.
“The provocative behaviour of some members of the band as evidenced in a number of YouTube recordings left a lot to be desired to say the least,” he said. “I have reported this to the PSNI and another Dervock ‘bonfire’ Facebook page that used the ‘KAT’ slogan (Kill all Taigs [Catholics]) immediately after the parade in Ballycastle.”
Elsewhere, the main Belfast march, which is traditionally the longest every year, breached a ruling of the Parades Commission as it passed St Patrick’s Catholic Church when some bands struck up sectarian tunes instead of playing a single drumbeat. Sinn Fein’s Caral Ni Chuilin said she was disappointed by the breaches of the ruling but was pleased with how the parade went as a whole.
Orangemen in Portadown also defied a Parades Commission ruling on Sunday by failing to disperse on time following the once-notorious Drumcree march when they remained at a barricade past the commission’s deadline of 2.30pm in a protest against the “discredited quango”.
In north Belfast, CS gas spray was deployed by the PSNI as tensions rose in the hours after a contentious Orange Order ‘return parade’ was rerouted. A stand-off took place between around 200 loyalists and republicans in north Belfast after the parade passed off peacefully.