‘Hate crime’ outburst

SIR,— I was away last weekend and returned home late yesterday to learn about an unsavoury incident during the annual Star of Down band parade in Newcastle last Saturday.

I am disgusted at what happened. 

The fact that sectarian abuse was directed at band members is a hate crime in my book and I will be raising the issue with senior police at a meeting of the district’s Policing and Community Safety Partnership in Newry later this evening.

Several years ago there was an incident during this parade when a man, believed to be a Republican, tried to break the ranks of the Star of Down band.

He was man-handled by a band member who was subsequently prosecuted for his actions.

I hope that the person who shouted sectarian abuse in Newcastle last weekend will also face court action.

While the individual has apologised and said that drink is no excuse for his behaviour, last weekend’s incident was concerning. It was something that could have have got out of hand.

Yours etc,