Loyalist Bands from Outside Moyle Granted Local Ratepayers Money

[slideshow] Armoy/Sandy Row/Bratty/UDA

Dunaghy is a crossroads on the outskirts of Ballymoney. Not much happens at the crossroads yet Dunaghy meanders into the local headlines from time to time.

The source of the news, a Loyalist Flute Band! Dunaghy have been going for over one hundred years yet have embraced a UDA bomber, who blew himself up in 2002 at a house in Coleraine, as their mascot. William Campbell, it is claimed, was killed on active service on the 3rd January 2002. 2nd Batt-C Company Coleraine. Least we forget and all that nonsense!

The truth, Campbell died at his own hand while using pipe-bombs. Over 100 had been used to attack Catholic homes and properties in the Coleraine area in the months prior to Campbell resigning his breath.

Pride of the Park, a flute Band in Armoy, hosts a parade in the village annually. Loyalists from all over the North gather in the village. Pride of place is reserved for regular attendees from the Ulster First Flute Band, Sandy Row.

Sandy Row, resplendent in UDA regalia, acknowledges the input of their local hero Joe Bratty to wage a war on taigs via a dedicated bannerette.

Bratty ordered the attack on the lower Ormeau branch of Sean Graham’s bookmakers on 5 February 1992, an act resulting in the death of five men. Bratty, who was known for his hatred of black people, also appended the initials of the Ku Klux Klan to his graffiti.

I could go on to talk about the Causeway Protestant Boys or those bashful lads from Silver Plains who wrecked havoc on the town of Ballycastle but I would be losing the reader.

Moyle District Council, in their wisdom, decided to award these and several other bands (ten in all) for their input to the local community.

A Loyalist Bands Forum applied for funding for a seeding grant. The forum is made up of 5 bands residing in Moyle plus another 5 from Ballymoney! No matter how uncomfortable we feel, under legislation, groups must be allowed to gain access to public funds in an equal an honest process. Until Monday night, Moyle did exactly that.

Three years previous, an under age hurling tournament was denied access to funds because one of the teams resided outside Moyle. The decision was correct. A criterion informs that we invest our funds in Moyle.  Those criteria have neither been reviewed nor altered. The decision therefore to fund a group with 50 percent of its makeup residing outside Moyle should never have been approved.

I was on my own when I protested the anomaly with no colleague providing a rational for their decision to support the funding application.

So what of the crossroads? In an eerily fatalistic note, I doubt the grant will see the deficiencies of the local heroes diminish. The target of their wrath will always be their near neighbours in both Dunloy and Rasharkin. May the residents forgive us for promoting this nonsense!

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