-mobile technology failed me tonight - no signal! My apologies to all!-
He later had the windows of his car smashed, though I'm guessing not by frustrated Twitterers.
Left then to Sinn Fein’s roving "Concerned Representative in the N.Antrim ‘Hoods", Daithi McKay, who needless to say had no problem with his mobile technology, to give his unbiased view on events:
-Loyalists threw petrol bomb at police lines and tried to get into a nationalist estate-
Gently pulled up by a reporter on the ground...
-didn't see loyalists throwing petrol bomb, where I was standing it seemed to come from protesters. I'm sure police will clarify-
Daithi splutters, has a wee think and discretely, hoping no one notices, starts a slow retreat...
-Spoke with police at time & were unsure of who it came from but it came toward them from the general loyalist position-
Ah right...I suspect he might have also missed the temporary driving range set up by local golfing enthusiasts for the night also.
Whether such a parade should have been allowed is certainly one important question- Sinn Fein (and it has to be said certain Unionist representatives) do have a somewhat flexible attitude with regards to public displays of paramilitary paraphernalia (i.e "if it’s our terrorists then it’s an acceptable expression of identity, if it’s theirs it’s offensive")...but more pertinently, McKay here has presented a serious allegation, which he obviously couldn't confirm, as the 100% truth. Given the extremely volatile nature in the town and the surrounding area that allegation, if it had become widely known, could have destabilised a bad situation even further and for a public representative supposedly dedicated to reducing intercommunal tension in the area that was completely reprehensible behaviour.
From this morning's RTE report:
As the event ended, a petrol bomb was thrown at the loyalist crowd from the nationalist side but the fire was put out and no-one was injured.Daithi?
McKay has neglected to further elaborate on his initial claim either on his blog or twitter...apart from this:
"Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay – a resident of Rasharkin – claimed the petrol bomb hurled at police during the parade was thrown by a loyalist bandsman".
No supporting video or other evidence has yet been produced to back his initial or this claim up; however, according to McKay's original Twitter republican activists have taped the march, so...presumably...that evidence will be forthcoming soon.
In his defence, he has, however, now posted what he purports to be a wall damaged by *loyalist supporters*.
This from Slugger:
"The building block for constructive debate - truth, is so often neglected. As a photo-journalist at the parade, the petrol bomb missed me by about 3 feet. It was thrown over the roof of a building from the same area where various other missiles had earlier been thrown at the parade by youths who I saw break away from the back of the nationalist protest in an entry leading to Carnfinton Park. It bounced off the back of the landrover beside which I was standing and hit a fence. I photographed the petrol bomb as it smouldered - it was (formerly) a Celtic tee-shirt before its new lease of life as a petrol bomb.
As for the parade itself, it appeared to be strictly marshalled, and band members who were hit by missiles (some of which also narrowly missed assembled journalists) on their return route limped on without reaction.
Their marshalls were steadily, albeit slowly, dispersing the loyalist crowd at the end of the parade when the petrol-bomb was thrown. The PSNI anticipated that the loyalist crowd might not be chuffed about having a petrol-bomb thrown at them and anticipated a reaction. Hence they formed up to control any such reaction. A few loyalists who could not see that the police had taken the same stance on the republican end of the incident reacted to what they thought was agressive tactics and threw bottles at the police. It was brought under control by loyalist stewards within 15 - 20 seconds and the crowd resumed its dispersal."