The pattern of sectarian attacks in Ballymean has already seen the loss of one innocent life. However, when the PSNI Ballymena DCU Commander, Terry Shevlin, said sectarian attacks in Ballymena were a “two-way affair” his comments were attacked by Sinn Fein representatives, Monica Digney and Philip McGuigan.
The PSNI have now released figures of the sectarian attacks in Ballymena DCU between April 05 to March 06 . There were 133 sectarian incidents, 57% of the victims were Roman Catholic and 43% were Protestant. Nationalist representatives (SDLP and Sinn Fein) are refusing to accept what the latest statistics show.
These new figures still mean that in the Ballymena DCU, which is 21% Catholic, a Catholic faces a 2.7 greater chance of being a victim of a sectarian attack than a Protestant. However, the last released figures of atacks were for 1 March 2005 – 31st August 2005, detailed 42 sectarian incidents, 67% of victims were Catholic and 33% were Protestant, so it appears attacks on Protestants have grown.
However, why is a statistical debate the priority for some civic leaders in Ballymena right now?