Political Dialogue Must Replace Protests - Villiers

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has called for political dialogue to replace loyalist protests and find a solution to the issue of flags, emblems and symbols in Northern Ireland.

Ms Villiers was speaking following talks today with Northern Ireland’s First and deputy First Minister and the Irish Foreign Minister.

The meeting was held at Stormont to focus on the recent protests and violence over Belfast City Council’s decision to limit the flying of the union flag at City Hall.

Ms Villiers said both governments would continue to support politicians to unite communities.

She also remarked that the recent violence was indicative of underlying sectarian divisions within communities in Northern Ireland.

Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore said the meeting had been positive and productive.

Ms Villiers was in east Belfast yesterday to meet residents affected by the violence in their own community and to reissue her call for all protests, including those which are peaceful, to stop.

The nationalist majority at Belfast City Council voted on 3 December to restrict the flying of the union flag at City Hall to designated days, in line with the rest of the UK.

But loyalists say the move is an attack on their cultural identity.

Since the vote was passed on 3 December, 102 police officers have been injured and there have been 116 arrests.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

18 February 2019
Other News In Brief
Elderly Woman Forced To The Ground In Belfast City Centre Police are investigating after an 87-year-old woman was pushed to the ground in Belfast City Centre last week. She was admitted to hospital after the incident on Friday 15 February.
18 February 2019
Man Stabbed Twice In Separate Incidents In Belfast
A man has been stabbed in a fast food restaurant in north Belfast while paramedics treated him for an earlier stab wound. Police are appealing for witnesses and information following the incident in the OldPark Road area on Sunday 17 February. At around 6.
15 February 2019
Danske Bank To Close Belfast And Bangor Branches
Danske Bank has announced plans to close two branches in County Down later this year. The Lisburn Road, Belfast, and Main Street, Bangor sites will close on Friday 24 May. Richard Caldwell, Managing Director of personal banking at the facility said the closure was due to a shift in customer trends, including the growing use of online banking.
15 February 2019
Police Probe Reports Of Man 'Acting Indecently' On Belfast Train
Reports that a man acted indecently on a Belfast-bound train are currently being probed by police. The alleged incident happened on the train from Newry at around 8.30am on Thursday 14 January.
06 February 2019
Young Girl Hospitalised After Youths Attack Belfast Bus
A young girl has been hospitalised with an eye injury after youths smashed a bus window on Tuesday evening. The incident occurred just after 7pm in Clifton Street on Tuesday 05 February. Three females in total were injured.