VILLIERS: NO EXCUSE FOR RIOTING OVER PARADE DECISION

Theresa Villiers condemns the violence on the streets of Northern Ireland

Theresa Villiers condemns the violence on the streets of Northern Ireland

THE Secretary of State has appealed to the Orange Order to call off all street protests.

It follows four nights of violence in Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland which has left 71 police officers injured.

A total of 60 people have been arrested and 32 charged, including teenagers as young as 15.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Theresa Villiers condemned the violence, expressing her profound sympathy with the injured police officers and also with Nigel Dodds, the injured MP for North Belfast.

She continued: “I am well aware of the anger felt by many people over the Parades Commission determination in relation to Ardoyne.

“But however strongly people feel, there can be no justification, or excuse, for the behaviour we have seen in recent days.

“Attacks on the police are wholly unacceptable and I condemn them without hesitation or reservation.

“There has been talk of attacks on British identity and culture in Northern Ireland. Well the sort of behaviour that’s been taking place in north Belfast does nothing to promote ‘Britishness’ or the pro-Union cause.

“Rather it undermines it in the eyes of the overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland and in the rest of the United Kingdom.”

Some of the missiles thrown by loyalists at police on Friday evening

Some of the missiles thrown by loyalists at police on Friday evening

Ms Villiers said that it was “hard to think of anything less British and less patriotic than wrapping yourself in a Union Flag and going out to attack the people who are there to maintain the rule of law and protect the whole community.”

She added that the Orange Order need to reflect carefully on their role in encouraging mass protests on Friday in a highly volatile situation without the careful planning, stewarding and engagement with the police needed.

“While the Orange Order announcement of the suspension of their protests was welcome, it is now time to call them off completely.”

“The Government has always made clear that we are open to a devolved solution if one can be found.

“But in the meantime we will not tolerate lawlessness on the streets of Belfast any more than we would in any other UK city.”

Share |


Comments are closed.

FacebookTwitter
BD TV
Email Us