Clyde Valley Flute Band and Apprentice Boys hold ‘constructive’ meeting

Clyde Valley Flute Band on parade in Londonderry.
Clyde Valley Flute Band on parade in Londonderry.

The Larne band that caused controversy by wearing a Parachute Regiment motif on its uniform at Saturday’s Relief of Derry parade has held “constructive” talks with Apprentice Boys representatives.

Officers of Clyde Valley Flute Band met with 1st Rathcoole Campsie Apprentice Boys of Derry Club and representatives of ABOD General Committee yesterday (Thursday).

In a statement issued afterwards through solicitors acting on its behalf, the band said: “Constructive and positive discussions were had regarding the parade, the surrounding issues and the disproportionate and unnecessary approach taken by police on Saturday 10 August 2019.

“All attendees at the meeting are united in their view that no criminal offence has been committed by the band, or any member of it.

“The meeting concluded with the officers of the band satisfied with expressions of solidarity and support by all parties in relation to all issues discussed during the course of the meeting.

“There is an ongoing police investigation with which the band are fully co-operative. It would therefore be inappropriate to add anything further at this stage.”

Apprentice Boys governor Graeme Stenhouse said the meeting with Clyde Valley Flute Band had been “very productive”.

The flute band, also known as The Gun Runners, had previously stated it was considering making a complaint to the Police Ombudsman’s office following its “unlawful detention”.

A bus on which the band members, who had been wearing a Parachute Regiment motif on their shirts, was returning to Larne when it was stopped by the PSNI on the outskirts of Londonderry. The band said three representatives were cautioned.

In the wake of this, unionist politicians met with senior PSNI officers to voice concern. Police,in turn, defended their response on the day.
In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Stenhouse said the Apprentice Boys recognised the potential upset caused to nationalists by the emblem worn by the band.

The comments resulted in several loyalist bands threatening to cut ties with the ABOD in a show of solidarity with Clyde Valley.