Questions over McKay’s evidence which helped bar loyalist band

PUP councillor Russell Watton
PUP councillor Russell Watton

A Coleraine councillor has questioned whether the resignation of Daithi McKay will have any bearing on a Parades Commission decision taken following representation from the former MLA.

Cllr Russell Watton of the PUP said he has posed the question – in relation to a ban on Dervock Young Defenders parading in Rasharkin tonight – following the revelation that Mr McKay had “misled” his fellow MLAs.

Dervock Young Defenders

Dervock Young Defenders

It followed the scandal surrounding alleged “coaching” of a witness in the Nama probe last year, leading to Mr McKay’s resignation.

On Monday night, the then Sinn Fein MLA issued a statement saying he had joined a local residents’ association in a meeting with the commission, where they proposed that the Dervock band should “not be allowed to partake given their behaviour at the 12th July parade in Ballycastle and the previous behaviour of individuals at parades in Rasharkin”.

Independent republican councillor Padraig McShane was arrested in Ballycastle on July 12 during an altercation with members of the Dervock band. He remains on police bail pending further inquiries.

Mr McKay added: “I am glad to see that the commission has taken this argument into consideration when making their determination on the parade this year.”

A spokeswoman for the Parades Commission said it was satisfied with its determination based on a wide range of evidence.

She said: “The commission’s statutory Procedural Rules require it to have access to a comprehensive range of information and evidence during its considerations.

“As is standard practice the commission did, however, refer in its determination to specific representations from protest groups.”