Statement by North Antrim MLA Jim Allister:
“I am appalled that the Parades Commission have banned Dervock Young Defenders Flute Band from taking part in the annual parade in Rasharkin this Friday night.
“Parade organisers had gone to considerable lengths including reducing the number of bands taking part and brining forward the time at which the parade would end.
“Yet the Commission has decided to take action – at the behest of Sinn Fein/IRA – against a band which had its bus burned out just days after the Twelfth celebrations!
” It is important to remember that it was a Republican councillor, Padraig McShane, who was arrested as a result of his behavior while the band passed on the Twelfth, not members of the band.
“I am disgusted that an incident which led to the arrest of a well-known Republican agitator should have resulted in a band being penalised.
” This is a gratuitously provocative action by a Commission which seems determined to stir up controversy in an area were the tensions around a parade had decreased in recent years. It underscores its negative impact when it comes to public order situations and the Republican alignment of the Commission.”