MLA Dallat's car attack claim challenged by marshal
A marshal at a loyalist parade has disputed a politician’s claim that band supporters surrounded his car and attacked the vehicle as he was inside.
SDLP MLA John Dallat said a crowd banged on the windows of his car and shouted at him during a 20-minute ordeal in Kilrea, County Londonderry.
Mr Dallat said he phoned 999 and police rescued him during the incident on Main Street on Friday night.
But parade marshal Mark Heaney has contradicted the MLA’s claims.
He has written a very different account of the incident, which was published on the Ulster Bands Forum Facebook page.
Mr Heaney wrote that he contacted police because Mr Dallat’s vehicle was “causing an obstruction to the parade”.
The marshal also told BBC Radio Ulster that the behaviour of the bands on Friday night was “totally faultless”.
“We always make a point of speaking to police after the parade to see if there are any issues, and bar minor traffic issues, there were no incidents in Kilrea that evening,” Mr Heaney said.
However, Mr Dallat has insisted that his car was attacked and that he gave an accurate description of the incident.
The East Londonderry MLA reiterated that he was “petrified out of his mind” and was still recovering from the ordeal.
Mr Dallat also rejected any suggestion that he obstructed the parade route with his vehicle.
The MLA added that photographs of his car which had been posted on Facebook were taken after he had been rescued by police, and not during the confrontation.
When contacted by the BBC, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) would not elaborate on their original statement, issue on Saturday.
That statement said: “Police received reports of a concern for safety from a 70-year-old male at 8:50 pm [20:50 BST] on Friday, 16 June in the Main Street area of Kilrea.
“Police were in the vicinity at the time due to a band parade taking place and were able to assist in resolving the incident.”
Source: BBC News – Northern Ireland