Northern Ireland

Politicians respond to Twelfth violence in Belfast

Northern Ireland's politicians have been responding to the serious violence which flared following a Twelfth of July Orange demonstration in Belfast.

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers

"Attacks on the police are completely unacceptable and there can be no justification for this kind of behaviour," she said.

"This sort of behaviour does nothing to promote Britishness or the pro-union cause, rather it undermines it in the eyes of the overwhelming majority of people here in Northern Ireland and in the rest of the UK.

"Once again, I pay tribute to the bravery of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and officers from Great Britain who did such an outstanding job in upholding the rule of law.

"They deserve our utmost praise and support."

Nelson McCausland, DUP

Mr McCausland said that following the Parade Commission's determination, the situation "was all so predictable and inevitable and we knew it was going to happen".

"We need to find a way of getting through all this. I would urge calm, I would urge people to be peaceful, to show restraint," he said.

"It's important that we set ourselves an immediate task. Let's get rid of the Parades Commission.

"Their decisions are illogical, they're incoherent, they're damaging and they send out a clear message.

"Last year dissident republicans in Ardoyne shot a police officer. They brought guns onto the streets, they burned vehicles, they threw petrol bombs at the police and they were rewarded.

"Now that's not good government."

Alban Maginness, SDLP

"After encouraging protest, the Orange Order is now calling off those protests - now that the damage has been done and PSNI officers and the local MP have been injured," he said.

"Those living where these riots are happening, especially those with young families, deserve more than what happened last night.

"I hope that the community will heed the call from the Orange Order as it is a welcome step in a bid to restore calm.

"We need responsible language and leadership from elected representatives, rather than blame game politics to ensure this violence is brought to an end."

Ulster Unionist Party

"The Ulster Unionist Party calls on everyone to step back from last night's violence in Belfast and to clear the streets of all protests.

"Last night's violence was wrong. The context in which it occurred was also wrong. The challenge is to analyse the underlying causes of tension with clear heads and long-term strategies.

"We welcome the Orange Order statement that has called for an end to street protest. We ask all who belong to, or support, that institution to heed that request."

Gerry Kelly, Sinn Fein

"What happened last night was planned. They knew what they were doing.

"They brought crowds up to these interfaces and (they had) some notion in their head, some strategy. They thought they were going to force some type of parade up through past the Parade Commission's determination."

Naomi Long, Alliance MP

"I would urge everyone to give the PSNI their full support as they bring this serious situation under control," she said.

"Violence is never inevitable and all attacks on the PSNI and community must be condemned.

"We need responsible language and leadership from elected representatives, rather than blame game politics to ensure this violence is brought to an end."