Glenarm bonfire 'drive-by' condemned

A PETROL bomb was thrown from a car in an attempt to prematurely ignite an Eleventh Night bonfire in Glenarm, the Times has learned.

Graffiti, which has since been removed by the council, also appeared in the village last week. Alderman Jack McKee (TUV) condemned the incidents, which he described as "clear examples of intimidation of the isolated Protestant community."

He said: "In addition, a number of flags were removed and extremely offensive graffiti sprayed on buildings."

Photographs sent to the Times show graffiti which was sprayed onto the toilet block in the village's car park. More graffiti appeared on the now derelict Glenarm Primary School building. One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said concerns were raised about foul language close to a children's play park. "I can see the whole thing escalating. It's very sad."

The resident claimed that after the petrol bombing incident loyalists in cars travelled to Carnlough where a stand-off ensued with nationalists. However, the PSNI said there was no report of any stand-off.

A police spokesman confirmed that a petrol bomb was thrown towards the bonfire from a car at around 11.30pm on July 10. The spokesman said that the device missed its target and there were no reports of any injuries or damage.

"Police carried out follow-up enquiries, but so far, have not received any information to identify the culprits. Anyone who can assist in this should contact police."

Only one complaint regarding the removal of flags was received, the PSNI said, adding: "Police take seriously any reports of intimidation. Over the 'Twelfth' period, we mounted numerous pro-active patrols. We also liased closely with responsible leaders in each community. We believe this was beneficial, and we are grateful for their hard work.

"Community representatives on all sides are in a position of good communication and working relationships with police and each other at the moment. It is because of these relationships that we had a relatively trouble free Eleventh night in the general Larne area."

The PSNI, the spokesman added, intend to review this year's Twelfth of July celebrations in the borough. "There will be a review of how the parade season passed within the appropriate forums, such as the flags forum, bonfire forum and Good Relations Forum to ensure any issues are addressed for next year," he said.

The spokesman added that intimidation by any group or individual towards others will not be tolerated. "We would ask anyone who has been harassed or threatened to make a complaint so that it can be fully investigated and the culprits brought to justice," he said.