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Mayor of Belfast, Niall O'Donnghaile, comments on Short Strand attacksSalem-News.com
Violence in Northern Ireland once again fueled and ignited by anti-Catholic forces.
(BELFAST Sinn Fein) - I have lived in the Short Strand for my entire life. It is a proud working class inner city community. I am very proud to come from this area. The people of the Short Strand, in common with those ordinary people who live in the neighbouring unionist communities in the Newtownards Road and Albertbridge Road want to be able to raise their families and live their lives in peace.
For some weeks there have been sporadic instances of anti-social stone throwing across the interface in this area. Local community representatives and politicians have been trying to deal with it with some success. It is important that this good work continues.
However what happened last night was not anti-social behaviour or a sectarian riot. What happened was a well planned and orchestrated attack on the Catholic community in the Short Strand by the UVF.
The activities of the UVF in East Belfast have been giving people cause for concern for some time. These have been well documented in the media by a variety of commentators. There has been a marked increase in UVF flag flying, the painting of new paramilitary murals and significant agitation around Loyal Order parades. This has caused deep unease within both communities in East Belfast.
Last night this manifested itself with a premeditated violent attack by over 100 masked UVF men on the community where I live.
It is my clear view that the PSNI could and should have responded better. And I think with the power of hindsight senior officers may well agree with this view.
The rioting which followed the initial UVF attack and which saw homes in both communities damaged and significant inconvenience caused was also unacceptable. Those who choose to bring guns onto the streets also need to know that their foolish and wreckless actions contributed nothing last night and both communities in East Belfast want no part of such actions. It is only through good fortune that nobody was killed.
What my primary focus today as the First Citizen of Belfast has been to try and put mechanisms in place to ensure that there is no repeat tonight of what we witnessed last night on the streets of East Belfast.
I have met with the PSNI and other statutory agencies today and also convened a meeting of political leaders in the city.
But this issue will not be resolved unless there is a very direct challenge put up to those responsible for initiating last night’s incidents – namely the UVF. There is a perception that unionist political leaders are not willing to address the very serious problem that the UVF is now posing to the everyday lives of citizens in Belfast. It is no good for us simply to clean up the mess left behind by actions like last night. We all know where the problem lies and there is a particular onus on political and civic unionism to intervene and address them.
I will make every avenue available to me a Mayor of Belfast to those within that community who wish to sort out these problems. I will be open to any and every suggestion from within the unionist community in East Belfast to assist them in that.
Let us act now to make sure yesterdays UVF actions are not allow to set the agenda for the summer months in the city of Belfast.
Source: Sinn Fein
Eileen Fleming is the Producer of "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu" Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org, Eileen is a Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com, Author of "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory" and the soon to be released "BEYOND NUCLEAR: Some of my Experiences of Mordechai Vanunu and the Holy Land: 2005-2010" youtube.com/user/eileenfleming. Eileen is a unique leader in her state and she intends to run for a Florida Congressional seat in the future, to help speed the process of change that is so demanded today. Like many who walk in similar steps, Eileen, like other writers at Salem-News.com, is an outspoken advocate for humanity and she has no tolerance for the oppressive forces of the world.<
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