McGuinness: attacks are the work of 'hoods and criminals'

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The deputy first minister said the people of east Belfast were "being dictated to by a gang of hoods and criminals", 12 May 2014.

Martin McGuinness said recent attacks, including those on Alliance party offices and the homes of Polish people, were being orchestrated by the UVF and elements of the Orange Order.

He called on unionist politicians to stand up and tell the public who they thought was responsible.

"We have not been speaking with one voice in recent times," Mr McGuinness said.

Gregory Campbell of the DUP said the minister's condemnation would carry more weight if he admitted "all of the hate crimes that he was engaged in when he was in the IRA".

Mr McGuinness said Mr Campbell was "very embittered" and he did not want to live his life that way.

At the end of topical questions, the deputy first minister said he was going directly to meet the chief constable to discuss racist and sectarian attacks in Belfast.

In reply to a question from Ulster Unionist Samuel Gardiner, the Mr McGuinness called for the parties to resume discussions on matters considered during the Haass talks about the past, parading and flags.

"I think it is hugely important that we get back to that work," he said.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan answered questions on the local government partnership panel, road safety for cyclists, and exemptions from the heavy goods vehicle levy.

Mr Durkan was asked about wind farms in areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) and the effects of wind turbines on health.

The minister said he was "currently reviewing PPS18", the planning policy covering matters including wind farms.

He said he would expect some representation calling for strengthened protection for AONBs.

The minister said the Public Health Agency had "often if not always" found that wind turbines were not detrimental to health.

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