NESSUN INCIDENTE ALLA PARATA DELLA PRIDE OF THE BANN FLUTE BAND
Nonostante la tensione altissima che persiste a Coleraine dalla notte dell’omicidio settario di Kevin McDaid, nessun incidente si è verificato ieri sera in occasione della parata della Pride of the Bann Flute Band.
Un gruppetto di 50 persone si è riunita in fondo al Bann Bridge per seguire la sfilata delle bande.
Uno dei presenti che ha però voluto restare anonimo, ha espresso il turbamamento della comunità per l’accaduto ed ha espresso disappunto per una banda che ha bloccato il ponte per qualche minuto mentri i suoi membri cantavano. “Non era necessario”, ha aggiunto.
Contenuta anche la presenza del PSNI. Si è avuta una scarsa presenza di agenti sul lato est del ponte. Nel Waterside era parcheggiato un furngone del PSNI e sei funzionari erano di pattuglia. Tuttavia, a meno di un miglio di distanza, membri del team di supporto tattico erano pronti ad intervenire in caso di disordini.
All’inizio della serata ha fatto ritorno a casa il feretro di Kevin McDaid. Presenti tra gli altri anche Francie Brolly e Billy Leonard, del Sinn Fein.
Loyalist parade passes peacefully but tensions still simmer (Belfast Telegraph)
Tensions remain high in Coleraine after a loyalist flute band paraded through the town just days after the murder of Catholic father of four Kevin McDaid.
The PSNI mounted a low profile operation in the town centre last night as the Pride of the Bann parade passed off without incident.
A crowd of about 50 people gathered at the bottom of Bridge Street to see the bands pass by.
One man, who came to see the parade but did not want to be named, said: “Ordinary people are disgusted by what has happened. This has been coming for a while, though.There have been tensions in the Heights.”
He also expressed disappointment that one band stopped at the bridge for several minutes while members chanted.
“There’s no need for that,” he said.
There was a low key police presence on the east side of the bridge. On the Waterside a police van was parked and six officers stood on patrol. However, less than a mile away, members of the tactical support team were on stand-by in the event of any unrest.
Earlier in the evening the body of Mr McDaid was returned to his family home.
The coffin arrived at the Heights estate shortly before 8pm where it was met by family and friends.
A single bouquet of red roses was taken into the house before the coffin was carried in by Kevin’s sons as well as family friend Peter Neill.
It followed by a crowd of mourners.
There were muffled sobs as Ryan, one of Kevin’s sons, who held his father in his arms as he lay dying, comforted mourners standing outside the house after the coffin had been taken inside.
There was a sombre mood in the estate ahead of the arrival of Mr McDaid’s body and mourners remained outside the family home for some time afterwards.
While this was all going on the noise of the march taking place in the town centre could be clearly heard.
Sinn Fein MLAs Francie Brolly and Billy Leonard were among the crowd of people who turned out to show their support for the McDaid family.
Eight men have been charged in connection with the sectarian murder of the father-of-four and the attempted murder of his friend Damien Fleming, who remains in a critical condition in hospital.
While The Pride of the Bann flute band voluntarily made the decision to reroute last night’s potentially explosive parade, fears remain that violence would erupt as tensions simmer in Coleraine.
The parade had been due to pass close to the entrance of the Heights estate where 49-year-old Mr McDaid was beaten to death and Mr Fleming viciously assaulted on Sunday .
But on Wednesday night the band announced it would not cross the Bann Bridge as part of the route.
Speaking ahead of the controversial parade, a PSNI spokesman said: “Police, organisers and community representatives will be working closely together and police resources put in place on the evening will be appropriate and proportionate.”
The PSNI operation was concentrated in the area of the Bann Bridge — where under the revised route the parade turned right along the Circular Road — and which is only a five-minute walk from the entrance of the Heights estate.