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Loyalist violence in Portadown

16 July, 2011 - by John O'Dowd

Commenting after last night’s loyalist violence in Portadown, Sinn Féin Assembly member John O’Dowd, who was present at the scene, said:

“Let people be very clear about what happened in Portadown last night. Listening to some of the media commentary this morning people could be led to believe that there was some sort of confrontation between the communities in Portadown last night. This was not the case. What happened were repeated attacks on the PSNI and on some catholic homes by a loyalist mob.

“This occured when the PSNI confronted masked loyalists heading towards a catholic area. This in turn was used as an excuse by loyalists to attack the police and the houses. Media attempts to portray this as anything else is simply wrong.

“This morning I have heard unionist political representatives attempt to justify last night’s violence. They complain about flags being taken down, they complain about the Drumcree parade and they complain about incidents at the 11th night bonfire. The reality is there is no justification for last night’s violence. The PSNI were attacked because they done their job and the houses were attacked because Catholics live in them.

“It is time that the DUPwoke up to that reality. Nationalists are asking what political unionism has got to fear from loyalist paramilitaries. In the course of the past few weeks we have seen loyalists organise violence in East Belfast, Ballyclare, Carrickfergus and Portadown yet not one unionist politician has made a direct criticism of the UVF. Instead of making excuses and pandering to these criminal gangs it is time for the DUP in particular to stand up and confront wrongdoing when they see it instead of making excuses for sectarian attacks.” ENDS

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