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Alliance Spokesman Dr Philip McGarry has said that the £2 million cost of Policing at the Harryville Protest is “totally unacceptable”.

“The RUC have made it clear that this massive amount of money means that resources are not available for other policing activities such as the prevention and detection of crime and the drugs problem which is very severe in the Ballymena area.

“This protest is not a legitimate or a reasonable demonstration. It is in fact a crude form of bullying and intimidation and is trying to prevent people from attending their weekly church service.

“The major responsibility rests with senior Unionist Politicians, especially those in the Orange Order, to say and do much more in order to bring an end to this totally unacceptable and anti democratic activity.”

A delegation of Alliance Councillors will meet with the Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan on Tuesday 16th December. The meeting has been organised at the request of the Alliance Councillors who are increasingly concerned about the level of paramilitary activity in their area of East Antrim.

The three Alliance Councillors attending the meeting will be Sean Neeson, Stewart Dickson and Jim Rooney.