Belfast Telegraph

SDLP's John Dallat has car kicked and thumped by mob during loyalist parade

Police were called to disperse crowd

An SDLP MLA says he “didn't have time to think" whether his life was at risk after he said he was threatened had his car attacked by a mob in Co Londonderry.

John Dallat says his car was attacked by a group of around a dozen people for around 20 minutes after he went to collect a takeaway in his hometown of Kilrea on Friday night.

The 70-year-old was then forced to call the police, who responded quickly to the incident – which took place around 8.30am - before the crowd then dispersed.

The East Londonderry MLA said a loyalist parade was taking place in the area at the time.

“I came into the town for a Chinese takeaway. While I was waiting, a loyalist parade started,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“I crossed the road to my car, and then I was surrounded by men and women, with people taking pictures on their mobile phones.

“I was hemmed in the car... they were battering on the roof and windscreen.

“Eventually, after tolerating it for a long time, I eventually felt it was in everyone's interest to dial 999, and that's what I did.

“Police came very quickly, they were very good. They ceased their activates when the police arrived."

Mr Dallat said he “didn't have time” to consider whether his life could have been at risk during the incident.

“I hadn’t time to think about that,” he said.

“Kilrea is a town that is known for its tolerance and respect of diversify.

“This was not the Orange Order, it was a loyalist parade."

Mr Dallat says it's the first time he's been face-to-face with such aggression.

“There was a large crowd in the town, probably several hundred. Footpaths would have been five or six deep.

“There were about a dozen people (outside the car). I feel like if it had gotten bigger I might have not fared so well.

“I haven’t been in that situation before, where you have people surrounding your car, with phones and kicking your car.

“I lived under threat before, but it's the first time I have seen it close up, and the first time I've felt I needed to dial 999.

“I think the resented the idea I was in my own town. That's not acceptable.”

He said he believes those who attacked his car were not from the local area.

“I want to make it clear, I did not recognise one of them. I have very good relationship with people locally who are attached to bands.”

A PSNI spokesman said: "Police received reports of a concern for safety from a 70-year-old male at 8.50 pm on Friday, June 16, in the Main Street area of Kilrea.

"Police were in the vicinity at the time due to a band parade taking place and were able to assist in resolving the incident."

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