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Protesters 'shooting themselves in the foot'

By Nevin Farrell

Loyalists who mounted a protest in Carrickfergus at the presence of a Sinn Fein junior minister "are shooting themselves in the foot", a unionist councillor has said.

A meeting involving Sinn Fein's Jennifer McCann and community groups was cancelled because of what the party described as "intimidation" from the loyalist protesters.

Ms McCann was in the Co Antrim town with her DUP counterpart Jonathan Bell to meet with a Christian group about setting up what would be the first refuge for male victims of domestic violence on the island of Ireland. It went ahead, but a second meeting at Carrick council offices was called off.

Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan said: "The council made a decision to cancel the second of her two meetings because of a loyalist picket outside the council offices as officials were worried about the potential for trouble."

Independent councillor Jim Brown, a former mayor of Carrick, said loyalists had the right to protest but said it could impact on investment in the area.

"The protesters are shooting themselves in the foot," he said.

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