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Man arrested over threats to Sunday Life reporter

By Staff Reporter

Published 06/10/2016

The Orange parade in the Ardoyne on Saturday
The Orange parade in the Ardoyne on Saturday

A man has been arrested by police investigating a report that sinister threats were issued to a Sunday Life journalist.

It happened as one of Northern Ireland's most controversial parades passed off peacefully.

The incident took place in Ardoyne in north Belfast on Saturday, when Orangemen were granted permission to march past a parades flashpoint after a landmark deal ended a three-year dispute between the loyal orders and nationalist residents.

Despite widespread support for the agreement to end the stand-off, members of the hardline Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) protested against the parade.

They then vented their anger at parish priest Fr Gary Donegan as well as Sunday Life journalist Christopher Woodhouse.

During the altercation, one man was recorded ranting in Mr Woodhouse's face, telling him he was "coming after" him and saying he had "better watch" himself. The incident was reported to police, who were passed video footage of the incident.

Yesterday, District Commander Chief Superintendent Chris Noble said: "Police investigating a report of threatening behaviour against an individual on the morning of Saturday, October 1 at Ardoyne, north Belfast have arrested a 32 year-old man.

"He was arrested in the Belfast area on Tuesday afternoon on suspicion of threats to kill and common assault.

"He was interviewed and has been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

"Enquiries into the matter are currently ongoing."

The National Union of Journalists has condemned the verbal onslaught, saying it was another attempt to undermine journalists in Northern Ireland.

Irish general secretary Seamus Dooley said: "It is unacceptable that journalists should face threats or intimidation from any quarter simply for doing their job.

"Sunday Life journalists will not be deterred from doing their work by these tactics."

The crowd had also shouted "shame" at Fr Donegan, who has called on the group to abandon its protest against Orange parades following the agreement.

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