Belfast Telegraph

'Rebel band' won't face prosecution

A band that faced widespread criticism after its singer bluntly urged British soldiers and their "Orange comrades" to get out of Ireland will not face prosecution.

Police received a number of complaints about the videoed remarks, which were interspersed with expletives, that were made during a performance by Kildare-based 'rebel band' The Druids at the Ardoyne Fleadh in north Belfast last month.

Both unionist and nationalist politicians criticised the address to a crowd of around 5,000 at the partly publicly-funded event. The band had claimed the comments were taken out of context.

Police said it had consulted with the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), which had given "pre-prosecutorial advice" that a crime had not been committed.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Nigel Grimshaw said: "Police conducted a full and thorough investigation into complaints made and evidence was presented to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

"The PPS has provided pre-prosecutorial advice that no criminal offence has been committed."

The Democratic Unionists and Traditional Unionist Voice parties have both criticised the announcement.

DUP MP for North Belfast Nigel Dodds said the PSNI and PPS's actions "beggared belief" and said the import of the decision should not be underestimated by the authorities.

"This decision will be challenged by the DUP at the Assembly, on the Policing Board and through any other avenue we can find," he said.

TUV Belfast councillor Jolene Bunting said the move would "further damage unionist confidence in the police".

Ulster Unionist Policing Board member Ross Hussey claimed the decision was both "indefensible and inexplicable".

He called on Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory to explain.

"I want to hear from the Director of Public Prosecutions and the sooner the better," he said.

A spokeswoman from the PPS said: "We can confirm that PSNI sought prosecutorial advice from PPS in connection with their investigations into events at Ardoyne Fleadh on the 23rd and 24th August 2014.

"On the basis of information provided by police, it was not considered that there was evidence of conduct amounting to a criminal offence".

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