DCSIMG

'No paramilitaries' involved in Cullybackey fracas - DPP told

'No paramilitaries' involved in Cullybackey fracas - DPP told

CULLYBACKEY was brought back into the spotlight last week when issues stemming from recent tensions in the village were discussed at a public meeting of the local District Policing Partnership.

And, local police Inspector John Allen said that while "rumours abound", they did nothing to help the situation.

He also advised caution before elected representatives made statements to the press, saying that without the full facts it could have a detrimental effect on good work that has gone in the village in recent times.

Addressing the meeting in the village community centre, Insp. Allen revealed that last weekend's trouble in Cullybackey had stemmed from an incident between a local band and football team.

However, TUV Councillor Sam Gaston stood by his earlier claim that there had been paramilitary involvement in tensions in the village.

"To me, there are groups or organisations from paramilitary groupings flexing their muscles and trying to take control," Cllr. Gaston said.

Regarding suggestions of paramilitary involvement after a fight last weekend, which involved more than 20 people, Insp. Allen said that was not the case.

"It was an altercation between a band and a team and the two groups have nothing to do with any other organisation," Insp. Allen said.

Insp. Allen's comments were backed up by a local community worker, Mark Rainey, who asked Insp. Allen to confirm that two arrests made over the incident had no affiliation to paramilitaries.

Insp. Allen said: "My understanding is they [paramilitaries] were not involved."

Mr Rainey also said that local people had been spoken to and urged to go to police to give statements over the recent trouble, and added they shouldn't be scared to do so.

"Rumours abound but I'll speak to anybody who has any influence in order to bring people to justice," Insp. Allen said.

Insp. Allen also praised all the good work that had gone on the village in recent months, praising the local Neighbourhood Policing officer Richard Adams.

Regarding Cllr. Gaston's comments over who was "running the village", Insp. Allen said police were very much in control, but he added that they were powerless unless they had support from local people in coming forward to make statements.

He also revealed that arrests have been made following last weekend's trouble in the village, and he thanked "all involved" for helping to bring people to justice.

Meanwhile, local MLA Paul Frew said that statements made in recent media reports could have inflamed the situation.

"I support the police and everyone involved in trying to sort the problem out and bringing justice to the people of Cullybackey," Mr Frew said.

He added that the suggestions of paramilitary involvement had been "reckless and dangerous" and could have undone all the hard work that had gone on in the village in the last few months.

"There is a lot of good work being done behind the scenes," Mr Frew added.

However, his comments were rounded on by Cllr. Sam Gaston who said he "did not want to be lectured" by him.

"I think people should go to the police off their own bat without paramilitary groups telling them to make statements," Cllr. Gaston said.

He added: "That's admitting paramilitary involvement when they are telling people to go to police."

Mr Rainey clarified that paramilitaries had not approached people but community representatives, and people were told they had nothing to fear by going to police and they would be supported in doing so.

Drawing a close to discussion of the issues, Insp. Allen clarified that as investigations were on-going, continued speculation over the issue was unhelpful, but he thanked all parts of the community for their efforts.

Noting the presence of the press, Insp. Allen made a call for any further witnesses to last weekend's trouble to make contact with him via Ballymena police station.

‘No paramilitaries' involved in Cullybackey fracas - DPP told

CULLYBACKEY was brought back into the spotlight last week when issues stemming from recent tensions in the village were discussed at a public meeting of the local District Policing Partnership.

And, local police Inspector John Allen said that while "rumours abound", they did nothing to help the situation.

He also advised caution before elected representatives made statements to the press, saying that without the full facts it could have a detrimental effect on good work that has gone in the village in recent times.

Addressing the meeting in the village community centre, Insp. Allen revealed that last weekend's trouble in Cullybackey had stemmed from an incident between a local band and football team.

However, TUV Councillor Sam Gaston stood by his earlier claim that there had been paramilitary involvement in tensions in the village.

"To me, there are groups or organisations from paramilitary groupings flexing their muscles and trying to take control," Cllr. Gaston said.

Regarding suggestions of paramilitary involvement after a fight last weekend, which involved more than 20 people, Insp. Allen said that was not the case.

"It was an altercation between a band and a team and the two groups have nothing to do with any other organisation," Insp. Allen said.

Insp. Allen's comments were backed up by a local community worker, Mark Rainey, who asked Insp. Allen to confirm that two arrests made over the incident had no affiliation to paramilitaries.

Insp. Allen said: "My understanding is they [paramilitaries] were not involved."

Mr Rainey also said that local people had been spoken to and urged to go to police to give statements over the recent trouble, and added they shouldn't be scared to do so.

"Rumours abound but I'll speak to anybody who has any influence in order to bring people to justice," Insp. Allen said.

Insp. Allen also praised all the good work that had gone on the village in recent months, praising the local Neighbourhood Policing officer Richard Adams.

Regarding Cllr. Gaston's comments over who was "running the village", Insp. Allen said police were very much in control, but he added that they were powerless unless they had support from local people in coming forward to make statements.

He also revealed that arrests have been made following last weekend's trouble in the village, and he thanked "all involved" for helping to bring people to justice.

Meanwhile, local MLA Paul Frew said that statements made in recent media reports could have inflamed the situation.

"I support the police and everyone involved in trying to sort the problem out and bringing justice to the people of Cullybackey," Mr Frew said.

He added that the suggestions of paramilitary involvement had been "reckless and dangerous" and could have undone all the hard work that had gone on in the village in the last few months.

"There is a lot of good work being done behind the scenes," Mr Frew added.

However, his comments were rounded on by Cllr. Sam Gaston who said he "did not want to be lectured" by him.

"I think people should go to the police off their own bat without paramilitary groups telling them to make statements," Cllr. Gaston said.

He added: "That's admitting paramilitary involvement when they are telling people to go to police."

Mr Rainey clarified that paramilitaries had not approached people but community representatives, and people were told they had nothing to fear by going to police and they would be supported in doing so.

Drawing a close to discussion of the issues, Insp. Allen clarified that as investigations were on-going, continued speculation over the issue was unhelpful, but he thanked all parts of the community for their efforts.

Noting the presence of the press, Insp. Allen made a call for any further witnesses to last weekend's trouble to make contact with him via Ballymena police station.

 
 
 

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