Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stormont executive to tackle violence

Stormont executive to tackle violence

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have said the power-sharing executive was determined to do all it could to overcome recent violence and to move forward.

The two leaders were speaking after meeting the PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott to discuss the violence which flared in Ardoyne in north Belfast this week.

Mr McGuinness said the small number of people who turned up to protest against the Orange Order march through Ardoyne was evidence that the vast majority of the people in Northern Ireland were behind the huge political changes that have taken place.

Mr Robinson said the Chief Constable has told them that the police were working towards making arrests.

Police came under renewed attack from rioters in Northern Ireland overnight as politicians condemned the violence.

In Ardoyne, the scene of Monday night's major disturbances, a number of petrol bombs were thrown at police, who responded with water cannon.

There were no reports of injuries and officers said they were working with community leaders to end the disturbances.

The PSNI said it had earlier worked successfully with community representatives in the nationalist Short Strand, Markets and Lower Ormeau areas to tackle attempts by youths to spark violence.

Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness yesterday hit out at those behind the rioting and defended their political efforts to ease tensions over controversial parades.

Chief Constable Baggott blamed dissident republicans for tension that reached a height in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast on Monday night where police came under sustained attack and eventually used baton rounds and water cannon to contain rioters.

Mr Baggott declined to single out individual politicians for criticism over the marches issue but called for a 'big debate' on the way forward.

Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness later issued a joint statement condemning the violence and highlighted their efforts to secure a lasting solution to tensions over controversial marches.

DUP leader Mr Robinson said: 'I am disgusted at the outright thuggery and vandalism that has taken place over the course of the last 48 hours.

'There is no excuse and no place for violence in civilised society. Both the deputy First Minister and I have been, and will continue, to work for a resolution of the difficulties around parading.'

Mr McGuinness said: 'Our experience demonstrates that the way to deal with any disputes or contention is through dialogue and agreement.

'There are numerous examples that show this to be the way forward.

'We are currently consulting on legislation that aims to provide a workable framework for dealing with contentious parades.'

While 82 officers were injured in riots over the past few days, a total of 55 officers were injured in Monday night's rioting alone.

On Sunday night, three officers suffered pellet wounds during riots in Belfast when they were shot at by a man armed with a shotgun.

On Monday, a masked man armed with a handgun shot at a police vehicle, though officers escaped injury.

In Lurgan, Co Armagh, rioters stopped the Belfast to Dublin train and tried to set fire to it. The driver managed to restart the train and it left the scene before any of the 55 passengers on board were injured.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the attacks on police were 'completely unacceptable'.

Mr Cameron paid tribute to the 'restraint and bravery' shown by the police as they came under attack.

Comment:

Maybe less time spent “globetrotting” and more time spent in Belfast attempting to find resolutions to their many domestic problems would be in order at this time for all Stormont government officials. It is time to cast political correctness aside and take whatever steps are necessary to stop the riotous behavior generated by these ridiculous demonstrations of Loyalist triumphalism. No parades – No riots!

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