NO ARRESTS OVER FIRST CITIZEN ATTACK AS COUNCIL PASSES MOTION ON LORD MAYOR

Police had to escort Belfast's Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Mairtin O'Muilleoir from Woodvale last month

Police had to escort Belfast’s Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Mairtin O’Muilleoir from Woodvale last month

THE PSNI has yet to make an arrest over a loyalist attack on Belfast’s Lord Mayor, Belfast Daily can reveal.

Last night Belfast City councillors headed off a political row when they agreed to support a motion condemning violence, supporting dialogue and respect for difference.

The compromise was agreed after the DUP said it would not support a Sinn Féin motion it said was “too narrow” which condemned an attack on Sinn Féin Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.

The mayor was attacked by loyalist protesters at an event in in Woodvale Park last month.

During the attack, nine police officers were injured when they escorted the First Citizen away from the attacking mob.

However, Belfast Daily understands that the PSNI have not made any arrests over the assault on the First Citizen or his police escorts on Tuesday, August 6.

Following marathon discussions inside Belfast City Hall, the DUP, Sinn Fein, the SDLP, UUP, Alliance Party and PUP all agreed to support a new nine-point motion condemning recent attacks, including the attack on the lord mayor.

The motion also said the council would support talks, respect shared space and equality.

The original motion opposed any use or threat of force for political purposes, condemned the attack in Woodvale Park and affirmed the right of the lord mayor to attend events when and where he is invited.

But the motion did not get DUP support and a political row looked on the cards at last night’s monthly council meeting.

The DUP’s group councillor Lee Reynolds said: “There were a range of negative events that impacted the city over the summer months, not just one,” he said.

“And it wasn’t in our view proper to highlight one above any of the rest. We thought it was too narrow so that’s why we sought to broaden it.”

The new motion was backed by all parties in the ‘Dome of Delight’.

SDLP councillor Tim Atwood said: “It’s welcome that the party political leaders came together today to produce a unanimous motion.

Sinn Fein’s group leader councillor Jim McVeigh said the all-party motion sent out a message to former US envoy Richard Haass as he prepares to come to Belfast to chair all-party talks.

“I think it’s significant that the despicable attack on the mayor has been condemned by everybody, including the DUP,” he said.

“We’re facing into very important talks here with Mr Haass and we wanted to create the best possible environment for those talks to succeed.”

UUP veteran councillor Jim Rodgers said he hoped those who engaged in violence over the summer would take heed of what local politicians in the council were now saying.

“I think it lets the people of Belfast and Northern Ireland know that the biggest council in the whole of the country can stand united in condemning violence and attacking those who go out to cause nothing but trouble and mayhem,” added Alderman Rodgers.

He said he was “disgusted” at the level of “hatred” now emerging with Belfast City Hall.

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