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Ó Donnghaile comments following east Belfast parade

3 July, 2012

Sinn Féin Councillor for Pottinger Niall Ó Donnghaile has this morning commended community leaders in the Short Strand and inner-east Belfast for their hard work on the ground during and in the aftermath of last night’s parade in the area.

Speaking this morning Cllr Ó Donnghaile said;

“I want to firstly commend those community leaders from both sides who once again took to the streets to help diffuse any tension on the ground during last nights contentious loyal order parade. This followed engagement with the local PSNI in the run up to last night.

What cannot be avoided any longer however is the annual tensions caused by this particular leg of the mini-twelfth parade. During the Balmoral Review event in May I believe leadership was very clearly demonstrated when the Albertbridge Road/Short Strand leg of that procession was avoided in order to prevent undue and unnecessary tensions.

Residents in the Short Strand cannot understand why the same logic wasn't applied to last night’s annual parade, given the problems that it presents to communities on both sides, year after year.

The Parades Commission also need to step up to the mark in terms of how it approaches this situation; problems are continually allowed to repeat themselves, seemingly without that organisation learning any lessons. Things like allowing clearly intoxicated supporters to line this sensitive leg of the route every year does not help either the organisers or the residents who are already negatively impacted upon. The PC also needs to look at the difference made when another major parade in May this year, took an alternative route, away from the Short Strand, which is also a viable option for this parade.

I commend all those who continue to engage and pledge my support for the work we are all involved in to ensure a peaceful summer for all of our people. ‘ CRÍOCH/ENDS

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