McMullan: ‘Carrick Town Hall protest was attempt at intimidation’

A protest which led to a ministerial visit to Carrick Town Hall being cancelled was an attempt at intimidation, an East Antrim MLA has claimed.
Oliver McMullan, Sinn Fein MLA (file photo)Oliver McMullan, Sinn Fein MLA (file photo)
Oliver McMullan, Sinn Fein MLA (file photo)

Sinn Fein representative Oliver McMullan made the comments after a meeting with Junior Ministers Jennifer McCann and Jonathan Bell on Monday afternoon had to be rescheduled due to a picket outside the venue.

The ministers were to discuss the various strands of youth work that have been carried out locally under Carrickfergus Borough Council’s Good Relations office and the Policing and Community Safety Partnership with a number of community and elected representatives.

However, a demonstration was organised by a group of local loyalists in protest at the presence of Sinn Fein MLA Ms McCann.

An earlier visit by both ministers to the CITHRAH Foundation, which provides support to victims of domestic abuse and their families, went ahead as planned.

Mr McMullan said: “I challenge the First Minister Peter Robinson to condemn this intimidation and interference in the important work of Executive colleagues improving the lives and opportunities of all our young people.”

Alderman Jim Brown, who attended the CITHRAH event, said that the demonstration at the Town Hall had ‘political motives’.

“The reality of the situation is that Sinn Fein are in government and will in part be determining what is done for Northern Ireland; we should be trying to get as much for our area as possible,” he said. “These people complain that nothing is done for them but when an opportunity was created, they organised a protest.

“If there are those in our community who want to ensure that we get nothing then they will have to explain themselves to the electorate. This meeting was about bringing funding and opportunities to the Carrick area.”