Ballycastle councillor arrested after confrontation with band

Independent councillor Padraig McShane
Independent councillor Padraig McShane

A hardline republican councillor in Ballycastle was arrested following a confrontation with a loyalist band in the town on Tuesday.

Padraig McShane, an independent who resigned from Sinn Fein in 2010, was allegedly involved in a verbal exchange with members of the Dervock Young Defenders Flute Band during the return leg of the Twelfth parade.

Videos of the incident have appeared on social media – showing a small group of males facing towards the band from the footpath, and the band members turning towards the men while still playing their instruments.

Mr McShane can be seen being wrestled to the ground by police, and being placed in a police vehicle soon afterwards.

DUP North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey said it was regrettable that some republicans had expressed opposition to the parades, while the majority of people in the mainly nationalist Ballycastle were prepared to show tolerance.

Commenting on Mr McShane’s attitude towards the Orange Order, Mr Storey said it was clear the republican was “still fighting old battles”.

Mr Storey said: “He continues to stir tension, and he did create issues before the Twelfth about the parade ‘not being welcome’ in Ballycastle and things like that.”

The DUP representative said it was a “credit to the people of Ballycastle” that Mr McShane looked an isolated figure in his opposition.

Sinn Fein councillor Cara McShane, who sits on the Causeway Coast and Glens Council along with her brother Padraig, said she had watched the videos of the incident.

“[The band] was almost out of The Diamond and up Market Street when it’s very obvious on the video that they spot Paudie, and they turn round then play nearly the full length of a tune into his face. It was very provocative.

“Four or five TSG [officers] circle Paudie and hold him. Paudie is shouting abuse back because they are shouting at him,” she said.

The Sinn Fein councillor was critical of the police response, and said she did not think her brother had been charged. She added: “The triumphant nature of the Young Defenders was disgusting.”

Also see: Independent councillor Padraig McShane released on police bail