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Unionist must bring loyalist violence to an end

6 September, 2005


Sinn Féin North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly commenting on the orchestrated Loyalist violence in North Belfast last night has said 'the leadership of political unionism cannot walk away from its responsibility. Unionist leaders must use their considerable influence to bring an end to loyalist violence.'

Mr Kelly said:

"The sectarian loyalist violence being directed at nationalists and the violence within the unionist community is very damaging. Lives are being lost and people's homes and property are being destroyed.

"The leadership of political unionism cannot walk away from its responsibility. Unionist leaders must use their considerable influence to bring an end to loyalist violence.

"It is time that all unionist political leaders, Ian Paisley, Reg Empey, Nigel Dodds, began to show leadership on the issue of loyalist violence. There is a political vacuum that is being filled, as it always is, by unionist sectarian violence. The failure to engage in the dialogue required to get the political process back on track is a failure of leadership.

"The public message seems to be that there is an acceptable level of loyalist violence, particularly if it is only nationalists and working class protestant communities that are suffering.

"The response to the ongoing loyalist violence and the sectarian campaign of attacks on nationalists is evidence of the ambivalence of unionists and the PSNI to loyalist violence." ENDS

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