A contentious Orange parade in Dungiven passed off without protest on Sunday, however, concern has been raised about the size of the policing operation.
Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey said there had been agreement at a recent meeting with the PSNI that seven police officers would be involved.
However, Colr. McGlinchey said the actual number on the day was a lot more.
The operation included officers wearing high visibility jackets on Main Street. There were several unmarked police cars stationed outside the town, as well as marked police vehicles at different points in Dungiven, along the Main Street.
The parade organisers had initially said there would be 80 participants, but later revised that to 75. On the day, it is understood there were 58 participants.
“Thankfully, the parade passed off peacefully, and the people of Dungiven respected the leadership shown by those involved in the talks leading up to the parade,” said Colr. McGlinchey.
“The numbers are down and that’s good to see. However, it was agreed at a meeting there would only be seven police officers visible to monitor the parade, but there were several cars and van loads of police. There was a police car parked at the chapel, which police have told me was accidentally parked, but people coming out of chapel were annoyed about that. Unfortunately, these things happen, and we have to move on. Mistakes have been made and I hope we can learn from this.”
One resident, who said he was there to monitor the parade, said: “I think the police presence was irresponsible. There was agreement for seven police officers, but there were a lot more than that, and being parked at the chapel was cause for frustration. It’s a contentious parade so you want as low key a police presence as possible. The numbers have been reduced, and that’s to be welcomed.”
In a statement to the Derry Journal, PSNI Chief Inspector Catherine Magee said: “It is the duty of police to ensure the safety of the public and in order to do this, appropriate policing resources are put in place.
“I am very pleased that today’s parade in Dungiven passed off without incident and, as is normal procedure, the policing operation of the event will be reviewed to determine any areas of improvement for future events.”