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Sinn Féin activists at flashpoint areas to try and ensure peaceful day

12 July, 2006

Sinn Féin General Secretary Mitchel McLaughlin has paid tribute to republican activists across the six counties who have spent the past 24 hours attempting to ensure that the Twelfth passes off without major incident.

Mr McLaughlin said:

“Since late last night senior Sinn Féin representatives have been on the ground at a range of potentially difficult flashpoint areas. Gerry Kelly and Gerry Adams have been in Ardoyne, Martin McGuinness was in Maghera and Philip McGuigan was on the ground in Dunloy. So far in these areas events have passed off peacefully despite the obvious provocation associated with Orange Order parades.

“However there is much anger at the assault on my party colleague Cllr. Michael Tallon in Lurgan by the PSNI. Cllr. Tallon along with other Sinn Féin representatives including Assembly member John O’Dowd were attempting to prevent a serious incident developing in Lurgan town centre when he was attacked with CS spray. This is the latest in a series of incidents in Lurgan in recent weeks and there is a widespread belief that the PSNI in the town are completely out of control. This is an issue we intend to return to in the coming days and I would again appeal for calm in the town this evening and again Sinn Féin representatives will be on the ground.

“The significant effort once again being put in by republicans to ensure people can get on with their lives in peace despite continuing efforts by the Orange Order to march through Catholic areas needs matched by unionist political leaders and the Orange Order if we are to end today peacefully. As we all know many of these return parades are accompanied by drink and drug fuelled gangs of supporters and this has in the past been a major cause of incident.

“However we remain absolutely committed to ensuring that the day passes off peacefully and Sinn Féin activists will once again be on the ground at potential flashpoint areas this evening.” ENDS

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