Riot breaks out at loyalist parade in Co Tyrone

 

A riot broke out in a Tyrone town tonight after a marching band passed through a nationalist area in the wake of the county's All-Ireland quarter final victory over Dublin.

Seven police officers were injured and four people were arrested following the disturbance in Castlederg. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said one of the officers suffered a broken cheekbone. Two elderly loyalist marchers received facial injuries during the trouble.

"At 5.55pm a parade was coming from Newtownstewart via an approved route when a number of people came out of a bar, interfered with a banner and assaulted members of the parade and police officers," said a spokesman.

The parade by the loyalist Black March Preceptory Order was passing through the staunchly nationalist Ferguson Crescent area of Castlederg, where dozens of Tyrone supporters in three separate licensed premises were celebrating their Gaelic football team's victory over Dublin.

After violence broke out, the PSNI brought in more officers to enforce the Parade Commission's ruling that the march be allowed to go through the Castlederg area.

Local Sinn Fein Councillor Charlie McHugh, who was returning from the match in Croke Park when the trouble broke out, said it made no sense to allow the parade to go through the area.

"I'm calling on the Parades Commission to explain why they went against the advice of their own person on the ground and insisted on sending the parades through Ferguson Crescent when they knew the Tyrone match was on," he said.

He added: "The only result could be trouble and that's what they got."

Mr McHugh said a similar parade in the town two weeks earlier had passed off peacefully because the Ferguson Crescent area had been avoided.

Meanwhile, police in Derry said a petrol and paint bomb attack in a loyalist estate last night was sectarian. Several devices were thrown shortly before 10pm at the Fountain estate. There were no reports of injuries or damage to property.