Northern Ireland

Reaction to parade violence in north Belfast

A round-up of reaction to the violence that flared at a republican parade in north Belfast.

Clifton Nursing Home

"None of our patients was hurt during the incident but this was a very distressing experience for this very vulnerable group of patients many of whom have dementia conditions.

"There was significant damage caused outside the rear of the building where rioters set bins on fire and equipment was vandalised.

"We would wish to pay tribute to staff who remained on duty to assure and comfort patients and monitor security on the site.

"We are utterly dismayed at the actions of those involved in last night's actions.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott

"I am very proud of the courage and restraint shown by my officers last evening, in the face of extreme violence that resulted in 47 officers being injured and a number needing hospital treatment.

"We will continue to act as peace-keepers and to keep communities safe, however, others have a responsibility within the community and wider society to resolve the conflict and tensions surrounding parading.

"Policing and the wider Northern Ireland community cannot afford a repeat of last night's events.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

"I want to unreservedly condemn it. Violence of any description is totally and absolutely not needed.

"Any attempt to deal with these situations in a way that would see an increased level of co-operation and dialogue was effectively torpedoed by the refusal of the loyal orders to accept a way forward.

"The rule of law has to prevail. I think the loyal orders and indeed unionist politicians need to understand that the rule of law has to be maintained."

Policing Board Chairman Brian Rea

"The sporadic violence and disorder was disgraceful and the large number of police officers injured is both shocking and shameful. There is no justification whatsoever for such violence being directed at our officers.

"As we all sadly know, condemnation alone will not stop further disorder from happening. To move forward there must be a 'meeting of minds' on the issues causing tensions and that can only be achieved through meaningful dialogue at community level by leaders.

"Board members will be discussing this latest incident with the chief constable on 6 September."

SDLP North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness

"All of this violence in North Belfast has the potential to unleash terrible sectarian conflict in our city.

"The SDLP is ready and willing to enter into discussions with all the political parties, loyal orders and the communities involved as they are the ones who are suffering in all of this mayhem. All parties need to enter into discussions with goodwill to resolve parading issues.

"Worryingly, last night's rioting appears to be further defiance of law and order, the PSNI and the Parades Commission.

"It's time for politicians, particularly, to show some leadership to defuse tensions and create a better environment where people can live in peace without fear of coming under attack."

Sinn Fein North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly

"There was clearly a well-planned and orchestrated attempt yesterday to further heighten tensions in north Belfast around parading and it was in my view planned and orchestrated by the UVF.

"It seems that loyalists have become the spokespersons for the Loyal Orders when it comes to parading issues in North Belfast.

"If we are to find a sensible resolution to contentious parades this needs to change.

"We need to hear from the leaders of the loyal orders, where is the leaders of the Orange Order, the Black Institution and the Apprentice Boys in all of this?

"They have been totally absent from the debate over parades in north Belfast."

Progressive Unionist Party leader Billy Hutchinson

"Mr Kelly is trying to use a misguided logic that because some of those involved in the trouble last night were perceived to be from loyalist backgrounds that the UVF were responsible in orchestrating it.

"Does this same logic then apply to the July violence in Ardoyne. Were mainstream republicans responsible for igniting this violence from the IRA/INLA?

"I just don't know where he got this from, I can categorically state that there was no involvement from the UVF in any way in this violence.

"The UVF are committed to the principles of the Good Friday agreement.

"Mr Kelly should be working to address negative and sectarian attitudes towards unionist culture in his own community."