Ulster Unionist Councillor Jill Macauley has expressed her disgust at the attack on band members in Rathfriland on Friday night.
Councillor Jill Macauley said:
“I am disgusted at what happened at the band parade in Rathfriland. It was absolutely shocking - someone could have been killed.
“I sincerely hope that the mindless thug who drove that car deliberately and recklessly through Star of Down Maghera Flute Band and Downshire Guiding Star Flute Band, and the rest of Rathfriland, will feel the full force of the law.
“There were children as young as five on parade with the local bands that were affected and that’s what makes it all the more harrowing. The thug responsible should be ashamed of himself.
“On top of this, passengers in another car were also hurling sectarian abuse at members of Pride of the Hill Flute Band. I commend the members for showing good discipline and not responding to this narrow-minded nonsense.
“Do not underestimate the seriousness of this incident. We are lucky that we are not dealing with someone being seriously injured or even killed. From the video footage, I’m surprised that’s not the case.
“Some of the police officers on the ground did their best to stop that car, and they should be commended for that. However the PSNI commanders need to do more to protect those participating in parades from the type of reckless behaviour we saw in Rathfriland.
“Myself and my Ulster Unionist Party colleagues have been liaising with the local PSNI and the bands about what happened and we welcome the weekend arrest of a 16 year old male. We now need to see a thorough investigation and further prosecutions. It is vital that we protect those taking part in parades from further potential attacks.
“I would appeal to people to support the Police, and anyone with evidence or video footage of the incidents to pass these on to help with prosecutions.”