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East Belfast policing operation criticised - O’Donnell

1 July, 2019 - by Mairead O’Donnell

Sinn Féin representative in East Belfast Mairéad O’Donnell has welcomed the peaceful passing of tonight’s ‘mini-twelfth’ parade in the area, but has criticised the PSNI for a number of failings on their policing operation.

Speaking from the Short Strand tonight Ms. O’Donnell said;

Despite the peaceful passing of tonight’s Somme Parade in East Belfast, frustratingly for residents and community activists working hard to ensure a peaceful evening, there were major failings in the associated policing operation. 

“In recent weeks we have worked hard with the PSNI and local residents to ensure a scaling back of the usual ‘screening-off’ of the parade route. This allowed for less disruption to local residents and traffic in the city.

“Numerous issues presented themselves during tonight’s operation - not least numerous, prolonged stops to the parade itself.

“I will be raising these issues with the PSNI leadership locally and Sinn Féin colleagues on the policing board at a senior management level.

“The PSNI’s focus tonight should not have been on photo-ops but instead ensuring the most professional and safest policing operation possible.

“I want to commend all of those who ensured tonight’s parade passed off peacefully and without major incident.

“Short Strand residents have sought to engage with the organisers of this parade over many years and they refuse to engage. Dialogue is required to ensure no such policing operation is required in the future so residents can live without disruption and associated intimidation.

“There are many lessons to learn from tonight and the PSNI must learn them.”

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