Coat of Arms of Belfast City Council (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My thoughts and prayers are with all Alliance Party representative and their staff at this difficult time following the decision by Belfast City Council to fly the Union Flag on designated days.
Reports are coming in this evening that a constituency office for Stewart Dickson MLA, the Alliance representative for East Antrim has been set on fire. According to the BBC the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service are at the scene.
As with the protest yesterday that forced Naomi Long MP‘s office to close early, all that these actions will do will be to stop local people from getting the assistance that they so often need with benefit queries, housing, social care needs, passport applications, and other local issues that they so often need help with. The thugs and criminals that have done this must be caught by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and brought to justice.
If any public representative has urged people to come out on to the street and protest, I suggest that he thinks again about the wisdom of this. The matter of the Union Flag has been dealt with by the body responsible in one local government district – Belfast City Council. It is outrageous for so many so-called Loyalists to be protesting in areas of Northern Ireland which are specifically affected by the decision.
I call on anyone with any information to pass it to the PSNI as soon as possible, that the real scum who have done this are brought before the courts.
Police Service of Northern Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Thankfully the evacuation of Omagh Police Station last night was due to a hoax device. Sadly, even hoax devices can be used to create terror in the lives of our police and of our communities across Northern Ireland. I call on anyone with any information about those who plant hoax devices and real devices to contact the PSNI about this. It is essential that those responsible are brought before the courts for justice.
The PSNI can be contacted on 0845 600 8000 for non-emergency reporting. In an emergency do phone 999.
I sincerely hope and pray that nothing untoward is found. My thoughts are with all serving our community in the Police Service of Northern Ireland at this time. Those who continually seek to create terror in Northern Ireland need to know that we will not put up with this. You will be found by the PSNI and brought before the courts.
Trouble appeared to be brewing in East Belfast as the bus I got home was making its away into East Belfast. There were just too many police landrovers lurking on street corners. Sure enough, there has been rioting in the Short Strand area of Belfast this evening. The BBC is reporting that homes in the Short Strand have been attacked by a large group of masked men.
All too often during summer months we are used to hearing about rioting somewhere in the streets of Northern Ireland. All of us have our individual rights to live our life without fear and without prejudice. It is vital that community leaders in the area sit down with local people to work out their differences with each other.
Rioting, throwing stones, missiles and allegedly pipe bombs is not a way to solve issues at all. I appeal to all in our community right across Belfast and Northern Ireland to work together to combat sectarianism and prejudice of all types.
All too often we hear about paramilitary style shootings here in Northern Ireland. Local politicians may be in charge up at Stormont in the Assembly, but on the ground it seems that local people are still being terrorised by criminal gangs. We also have had many bomb alerts in or near Belfast in recent days. The people of Northern Ireland are fed up by these attacks on our peace and democracy.
There must be people in our communities who know who is responsible for these attacks. I call on them to contact the Police Service of Northern Ireland as soon as possible, so that the Criminal Justice system can be used to put these criminals, thugs, and bully boys behind bars. Let’s hope that the Prison Service and Probation Service will be able to work together with other agencies to reform the criminals in our midst.
You can contact the PSNI on 0845 600 8000 or if it is an emergency by dialling 999.