Independent councillor told to increase his personal security

Causeway Coast and Glens Independent councillor Padraig McShane is arrested in Ballycastle last month
Connla Young

A NATIONALIST councillor has been warned by police to step up his security in the wake of a controversial Twelfth parade in Co Antrim.

Padraig McShane said he and two other Ballycastle men were contacted by police in recent weeks and advised to enhance their security arrangements.

The Independent councillor said he believes the threat has been made by loyalists.

Police have said they do no comment on the security of individuals.

The warnings were delivered just weeks after Mr McShane was arrested following an altercation with bandsmen and police in Ballycastle during a Twelfth parade in July.

He was pictured being led away by police in handcuffs with a cut to his head.

Watch: Mr McShane's arrest

It is understood Mr McShane reacted angrily following comments about a suspected loyalist arson attack on his Ballycastle home in 2014.

He was later released without charge.

It has emerged that an application for a protest was rejected by the Parades Commission because it was received in the early hours of the Twelfth.

Mr McShane also said that in the wake of the parade some nationalists had been asked to attend police interviews as part of a follow-up investigation.

Mr McShane, who sits on Causeway Coast and Glens Council, described the threats as “worrying”.

“It’s extremely uncomfortable for the individuals and worrying for their families. It's a repercussion of unwanted sectarian parades,” he said.

The councillor added that "the consequences (of developments since the Twelfth parade) must be addressed by the Parades Commission in the immediate future".

“Any influence igniting trouble in the town of Ballycastle are influences coming from outside the area,” he said.

Meanwhile a new group, Ballycastle Anti Racism League, is planning to meet the Parades Commission ahead of a loyal order feeder parade through Ballycastle later this month.

Royal Black Institution members and Silver Plains Flute Band, from the village Moyarget, intend to hold a small parade in the majority nationalist town on the same day the institution's 'Last Saturday' demonstration.

Mr McShane, a spokesman for the group, said they intended to "highlight growing concerns of sectarian based prejudice...given legitimacy through the medium of triumphalist parades".

A spokesman for the Parades Commission said: “The Commission took a decision to reject the (nationalist) protest notice on a number of grounds including that it was not reasonably practicable to fully exercise its duties under all the circumstances,” a spokeswoman said.

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