Dallat to meet police over bonfire threat

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SDLP MLA John Dallat is to meet with senior police officers this week, after a death threat was left on top of a loyalist bonfire in Garvagh.

A scarf shaped into a noose was left on top of the bonfire with a note.

The note warned that life would not be normal until Mr Dallat was ‘disposed of’.

Mr Dallat says he will be meeting with senior police officers to see if those who put the death threat on the bonfire would be interviewed and charged.

The MLA said that whilst the death threat would not “inhibit him”, those who made the threat were dangerous people who “could not be ignored”.

Mr Dallat said he was “grateful” to police for calling at his home on Thursday evening to alert him to this “disgraceful event”.

Mr Dallat said: “When I visited Garvagh just before midnight, it was very clear that the number of people turning out to support this event was a mere handful compared to years ago.

“Clearly the people of Garvagh have had enough of the wanton sectarianism that has being going on in the name of loyalism and they don’t find it appealing or entertaining.”

He added: “While the death threat won’t inhibit me in any way, I do take note that those involved are dangerous people who can’t be ignored and should not be ignored.

“They have the capacity to attract the interest of loyalist paramilitaries who over the years claimed the lives of many people in East Derry.”

He went on: “Only when we have laws which are capable of criminalising those involved in sectarianism and committing hate crimes will we bring an end to activities which are in breach of every principle of human rights anywhere in the civilised world,” he said.

“I will also be seeking meetings with the various statutory authorities about the fallout from this tyre-laden bonfire which left a heavy presence of burned rubber materials over an area which spanned several miles and was only cleared after several hours.”

* From 6pm until 1am the fire service received 184 calls in Northern Ireland.

Over a three-hour period it dealt with calls every 77 seconds. Forty-two incidents were related to the Eleventh Night. Only 15 required fire service assistance.