Rasharkin parade: Allister rejects SF paramilitary claim

TUV Leader Jim Allister
TUV Leader Jim Allister

The TUV and Sinn Fein have clashed over a planned band parade in Rasharkin this month.

Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay met the Parades Commission on Tuesday to discuss an application for the parade through what he said was the “mainly nationalist village of Rasharkin”.

He added: “An application has been made to bring 44 loyalist bands through the village of Rasharkin on August 23.

“The Parades Commission must ensure that the rights of residents are upheld and that means the reduction of the size of this parade and the length of time it remains in the village.

“The people of Rasharkin find this parade very intimidating due to its paramilitary nature. Steps need to be taken to deal about that threat especially given the fact the parade organisers have not engaged in direct dialogue with the residents.”

But TUV MLA Jim Allister said he had attended the parade for many years and had “never seen any paramilitary trappings at it”.

“Sinn Fein have been agitating against this for years and at one point had the number of bands reduced to 25,” he said.

The parade has also been stopped from returning by its outward route on the main street, he said, and has been attacked with golf balls.

“This agitation runs parallel to the Protestant population being largely driven out of the village.

“The parade is the last expression of the Protestant culture which still remains in and around the village area.”