Royal Black condemns Scarva clashes

The Sham Fight at Scarva.
The Sham Fight at Scarva.

The Royal Black Institution has distanced itself from a public order incident during last Tuesday’s ‘Thirteenth’ celebrations in Scarva.

Six males are facing charges following a late afternoon clash in the vicinity of a beer tent.

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, appeared at Banbridge Youth Court, sitting at Newry, on Monday.

Four men, aged 19, 21, 22 and 23, are due to appear at Banbridge Magistrate’s Court, again sitting at Newry, on Thursday, August 6.

A police spokesperson said that in line with normal procedure the charges would be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.

The Royal Black Institution has made it clear the incident was in no way directly connected to its traditional Sham Fight and celebrations.

“Anyone who abuses alcohol, or the police, is not welcome at the Sham Fight,” a spokesperson said. “This is a hugely successful family day out. The institution will do everything it can to maintain the highest of standards, so that the tens of thousands of people who routinely attend what is arguably the biggest one-day event at a single location in Northern Ireland, can enjoy themselves peacefully.”

Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson commended the Sham Fight committee for the organisation and marshalling of the event.

“Scarva was certainly the place to be yet again,” she said. “It was lovely to get the opportunity to meet up and chat with so many people enjoying the day. I spoke with some visiting German tourists on their first trip to Scarva who were thoroughly enjoying the pageantry and music.

“I commend all of the members of RBP 1000, including committee chairman Sandy Heak and Mark Hillis who have worked so hard to make our local tourist gem even bigger and better.

“I also commend the members of the preceptories who took part in the procession, the bands and spectators. We can be immensely proud that in all over 100,000 people arrive in Scarva each year to celebrate the Thirteenth.”