Suspended councillor gets legal aid over July 12 charges

Padraig McShane has denied all five charges relating to the Ballycastle July 12 parade

Padraig McShane has denied all five charges relating to the Ballycastle July 12 parade

A councillor facing charges relating to a July 12 parade through Ballycastle this year has had legal aid granted after his defence solicitor said he has “no income” presently because of a suspension from his council over displaying flags.

Padraig McShane, 44, of Beechwood Avenue, Ballycastle, is an independent councillor on Coleraine-based Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, but a three-month ban on him attending meetings came into force on Monday.

Also on Monday he was present at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court in connection with charges he is facing following alleged incidents on July 12.

His defence solicitor Michael Brentnall told the court his client was pleading not guilty to all the charges.

He made a successful application for legal aid to be granted saying the accused had “no income” at the moment as he had been previously paid by the council but that was no longer the case as a result of a decision last week.

The three-month suspension was imposed last Thursday.

The suspension came after Mr McShane was pictured with an Irish tricolour and Palestinian flag in his council’s chamber in June 2015 along with Londonderry independent councillors Gary Donnelly and Darren O’Reilly and Gaza official Mohamed Al-Halabi.

In the separate court case, Mr McShane faces five charges including that he ‘organised’ an un-notified ‘protest meeting’ at the Ballycastle parade and was disorderly at The Diamond in the town.

His case has been adjourned to December to fix a date for his case to be contested.