Operation was ‘seige like’ says Sinn Fein

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Sinn Fein councillor Ciaran Archibald says that local residents were unhappy with how police dealt with last Tuesday night’s Somme pararde.

He said: “On the same evening as nine men were sentenced for charges related to the death of Kevin Mc Daid, in what the judge described as ‘an ugly sectarian incident’, family members, friends and the local community had to immediately deal with an Orange Order band parade which passed through Pates Lane and Somerset Drive.”

Mr Archibald, who was in the area during the parade, said: “There was a heavy police presence in the area long before the parade started at 7pm until the early hours of the morning.

“The local residents were unhappy with how the situation was handled.

“They were were completely surrounded and enclosed in what they described as a ‘siege-like’ manner for over six hours. These residents had their movements very much restricted. The community were frustrated and this frustation increased as the evening wore on, with the parade passing the area three times. It bubbled over on a number of occasions and resulted in some unsavoury incidents.

“Given the events of the day, caution by the police was understandable, however the residents felt the police were somewhat heavy handed.

“Going forward there needs to be much more communication between all sides to prevent situations like this becoming the norm during parades over the next few months.”

The Sinn Fein man has also expressed concern over the increased numbers of flags in towns and villages in the Borough of Coleraine. He said: “I would encourage both sides of the community to be sensible, respectful and dignified over the summer marching season.”