Judge denies request due to the threat of protest
LEADING flag protester Jamie Bryson cannot attend today’s Irish Cup final, a judge has ruled. The Ulster People’s Forum spokesman sought permission to attend the showpiece soccer match between Glentoran and Cliftonville.
Mr Bryson is banned from being within four miles of Belfast City Hall while on bail charged with offences connected to the ongoing Union Flag dispute. He sought to have the pprohibition relaxed so that he could join thousands of supporters at the game being held at Windsor Park in the south of the city. Police opposed his application amid concerns protests could be staged at the ground over the decision not to play the British national anthem before the match. They argued that such an event would lead to Mr Bryson being in breach of another condition not to go within a mile of any public demonstration. The 23-year-old, of Rosepark, Donaghadee, Co Down, faces six charges involving allegations of encouraging or assisting, offences and taking part in an unnotified public procession.
He has previously been refused permission to attend a UVF centenary parade but allowed to stay out later at night to play for his amateur fofoot book team. Making the latest application, his lawyer yesterday told Belfast Magistrates Court that he would be bussed straight into the stadium and back out after the game. “I asked him if there were to be a protest at Windsor Park how would he react. He said ‘I would leave’,” Richard McConkey said. District Judge Austin Kennedy accepted Mr Bryson wanted to be at the match. “That’s what happens. That’s the nature of sport. People want to attend finals,” he said. However, the judge denied the request due to the potential threat of any trouble breaking out. “There is the issue of public order and the maintenance of public order and the maintenance of public order given the current climate surrounding the issue of the Union Flag protests, regarding the issue of the national anthem tommorow and because police have information there will be a protest,” he said. “On balance I’m not prepared to take the risk at this stage.” Mr Bryson shook his head as he walked from the courtroom following the refusal.
With many thanks to : Irish News.
- Cup Final National Anthem Row: Dup to Meet Ifa (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- IFA ‘out of tune’ in anthem row (newsletter.co.uk)
- Three accused over dissident march seek to attend ‘valid’ protests (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Jamie Bryson Banned From Irish Cup Final (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- Flag protester Jamie Bryson can stay out later to play footfall – judge rules (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)