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Dublin: 20°C Friday 23 July 2021

McGuinness: People were 'wound up by those who should know better'

The Deputy First Minister has urged sensible, measured, positive and constructive solutions in Belfast.

Loyalists clash with police in North Belfast on Friday.
Loyalists clash with police in North Belfast on Friday.
Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE DEPUTY FIRST Minister of Northern Ireland has called for a ‘sensible and measured’ approach to dealing with heightened tensions in Belfast this weekend.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s This Week programme today, Martin McGuinness urged positive and constructive dialogue to bring the current violence to an end.

Over the past two nights, 39 PSNI officers were injured in riots in what has been described as “isolated serious disorder” in certain areas of the city. Water cannon and baton rounds were deployed to fend off attacks on police lines.

“I hope over the course of the next short while, all of this will peter out,” McGuinness said.

However, the Sinn Féin politician criticised leadership of the Orange Order for creating a scenario in which people were “wound up” by others “who should know better”.

He singled out Reverend Mervyn Gibson for playing a “negative role” in the build-up to 12 July celebrations. He described the criticism aimed at the Parades Commission’s determinations about marching season as a “huge mistake”.

Noting that he had “no difficulties” with Orange Order traditions, McGuinness said Belfast could learn from Derry which had had eight peaceful marching seasons because “people of the city can talk to each other”.

“I believe there should be consequences,” he added. “This cannot be allowed to continue.”

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