Sinn Fein's McKay and Pride of the Maine clash over Rasharkin parade allegations

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay and the Pride of the Maine flute band have clashed over incidents which alegedly took place took place during Saturday's Apprentice Boys 'feeder' parade in Rasharkin.

The Sinn Fein member said the band should not be allowed into Rasharkin again after claiming a band member vandalised a car in Sunnyside Drive in the village.

However a representative from the Pride of the Maine flute band denied the claims accusing McKay of attempting to damage the band’s reputation.

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Mr. McKay said: "The Apprentice Boys' parade in Rasharkin on Saturday night clearly breached the Parades Commission determination which was made prior to the parade.

"The determination clearly said that alcohol was not to be consumed by those participating in this parade. There were a number who 'staggered' down the Main Street and Sunnyside Drive rather than marching. Now according to the determination stewards should have removed intoxicated participants from the parade. There were no efforts made in this regard whatsoever.

"Further to that a member of Pride of the Maine band, whilst marching through Sunnyside Drive took his drum and ran it along the side of a resident's car scoring it significantly. This action again demonstrates what the purpose is of bringing Pride of the Maine band through this small cul-de-sac really is and that is why parading through this area should be discontinued."

Denying the claims, a spokesperson from P.O.T.M. said: "This is just the continuation of a concerted campaign by M.L.A. McKay to damage the reputation of one of the most highly respected bands in the marching band scene. He and his associates will stop at nothing in their aim to ethnically cleanse Rasharkin of anyone or anything Protestant.

"We reiterate that during the last seven years while accompanying the local A.B.O.D. Club we have behaved with due respect to All the residents of Rasharkin. This is despite a sustained barrage of abuse and missile attacks that we have received from a small group of sectarian bigots who are hell-bent on making the village a no-go area for Protestants whether wearing a uniform or not."

Assemblyman McKay countered: "The Residents Association held a small and dignified protest at the entrance to Sunnyside which abided fully with the Parades Commission determination. I think that it is long overdue that the organisers of such parades started talking to the Residents Association so that we can see a sustainable resolution to this issue."

The spokesperson from the Pride of the Maine responded: "In this so called new dispensation we are supposedly going to live in a shared space with respect for each others religion, cultures and differences.

"McKay and these individuals obviously dont subscribe or offer nothing to this ideal and in fact render it as nothing more than useless retorick, as they are still exercising the policy of 'Brits out' and that means anyone who doesnt subscribe to the ethos of a United Ireland with a population free from anyone of the Protestant faith or upbringing."