A Ballymena committee for the Ulster People’s Forum has been founded following a public meeting at Ballykeel community centre on Monday.
A spokesman told the News Letter that the committee is designed to discuss the on going protests and the wider issues within the Protestant Unionist Loyalist community(PUL).
Over 200 people attended the meeting which was addressed by victims campaigner William Frazer and flag protester Jamie Bryson.
Mr Frazer told the meeting that he is delighted by the response from across Northern Ireland to the Ulster People’s Forum and said that he feels the Protestant community are “underestimated” by political leaders who he says “now have to be held accountable to the electorate”.
Mr Bryson encouraged young people from the town not to get involved in violence but instead to get into politics.
The floor was then opened to the people to give their opinions on the role of the UPF and the other issues,
As well as anger at the removal of the Union flag from Belfast City Hall, those attending the meeting also expressed concerns that they felt there is a “serious disconnect” between Unionists and Unionists political representatives and the Unionist vote being split.
Hopes were expressed that the UPF could facilitate a coming together of Unionism and give people, who felt they had no one to vote for, more confidence in the candidates put up for election and while the UPF would not be a political party it would be able to get the right people into the right council seats.
The spokesman said the Ballymena People’s Forum will be set up for the people of the local area and that many of those attending the meeting showed interest in being part of this. Representatives from this would then attend the main UPF and convey the opinions and ideas from the Ballymena area. More meetings will be held in the very near future and anyone is free to attend.
It is understood that no elected representatives attended this meeting.
The Ulster People’s Forum was set up to give a voice to those protesting at the removal of the Union flag from Belfast City Hall and also to address other issues currently causing disquiet within the Protestant and Unionist community.