22/06/2011

Keep Calm, Keep The Peace, Says Council

A united call for calm and a commitment to engage and listen to all communities affected by recent unrest in east Belfast has come from the leaders of all political parties on Belfast City Council.

Mayor Niall Ó Donnghaile, who convened the meeting of party leaders attended by Sinn Fein, DUP, SDLP, Alliance Party and Progressive Unionist Party at Belfast City Hall, said that the immediate focus had to be on working to prevent further trouble.

But he emphasised that all the parties were committed to exploring the causes of the disturbances with a view to finding long term solutions to problems in the area.

The Mayor (pictured) said: "There has been widespread recognition of the damage being caused to the city as a result of this trouble, but it is the ordinary local people who are being most seriously affected.
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"The council will work with the [Stormont] Assembly, community and church leaders, elected politicians and statutory agencies to try to ensure a society that can live in safety and at peace with their neighbours."

Councillor Ó Donnghaile also paid tribute to those who worked hard over the past couple of nights to try to bring the situation under control and to workers from Belfast City Council and other organisations who were involved in the clean-up this morning.

High Level

NI First Minister Peter Robinson has also offered to try and resolve the situation after it emerged that talks have been taking place between community and political leaders in an attempt to defuse tensions.

Mr Robinson told the BBC that if people felt they need to have issues addressed "I will meet them".

He said people were horrified at what had happened and recognised the "reputational damage" it was doing to the economy.

(BMcC)

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