Disgraceful attacks on Protestant community says SDLP

Assaulted: Darren Hutchinson was attacked because he was wearing a Rangers shirt, it's been claimed.
Assaulted: Darren Hutchinson was attacked because he was wearing a Rangers shirt, it's been claimed.

The SDLP has condemned a series of assaults on local Protestants in the Heights and Killowen areas of Killowen.

A statement from local councillors follows an attack on 43-year-old Darren Hutchinson at Killowen Street in the early hours of Sunday morning.

John Dallat

John Dallat

It’s believed he was targeted because he was wearing a Rangers jersey.

Speaking on behalf of the local SDLP, John Dallat said: “There have been three attacks in recent times, all of them equally disgraceful.

“The most recent on Sunday morning involved a member of the Protestant community who was wearing a Rangers top. One person was involved and not three as claimed on social media.

“None of these attacks is supported by the Nationalist community and anyone with information should give it directly to the PSNI, Crime Stoppers or indeed any locally elected representative.”

Mr Dallat called for public representatives to encourage the public to help police catch the culprits.

“It is not sufficient for unionist representatives to issue press statements condemning the police,” he said.

“What is needed is greater encouragement to co-operate with the police so that this kind of disgraceful behaviour is stopped because we all know that when misguided people retaliate it will be against ordinary people who will suffer and that is not acceptable.

“The SDLP met with local police twice in recent times and our conversations were about the protection of the whole community.

“We did not conduct our business in a sectarian manner and we would appeal to all elected representatives to begin speaking for the whole community because that is where we get the strength to stop this kind of behaviour.

“Blanket criticism of the police, sometimes accusing them of favouring the Nationalist community is irresponsible, unhelpful and may well be building up unnecessary tension where there is none.”