Positive leadership needed to stop interface violence
Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has appealed to parents to highlight the dangers of getting caught up in recreational rioting and said there was the need for a similar scheme that has just been launched in Belfast to help reduce interface violence over the summer holidays.
Her call comes after violence flared at Bishop Gate shortly after 5.00pm on Thursday night in which people returning home from work, city centre shoppers, and tourists got caught up in.
Ms Anderson said:
"On Thursday night rival groups clashed at Bishop Gate. It was a very freighting experience for those who got caught up in the incident, including people returning home from work and shopping in the city centre. A number of tourists narrowly missed getting hit by missiles being thrown and several missiles hit Alexander house.
"Local people just want to live in peace and quiet and do not want to face another summer of this. There needs to be a similar scheme here to one being pioneered by the Interface groups in the Belfast. That initiative there will distribute 20,000 leaflets and posters across schools, youth clubs and local communities to highlight the dangers and risks, particularly among young people, associated with summer rioting at flashpoints area.
"I am calling on anyone with influence with the young people to exercise positive leadership as the summer holidays approach and for parents to ensure that their children are not getting caught up in recreational rioting. We need to generate dialogue among communities about the role and responsibility of children, parents, politicians, church leaders, and teachers to ensure that this summer passes off peacefully." ENDS