NI ministers in appeal for calm

Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson have made an appeal for calm over the summer The first and deputy first ministers have appealed for calm ahead of the annual 12 July parades, after disturbances at the weekend.

A number of police officers were injured during rioting in County Antrim at the weekend.

It followed disturbances in Lurgan and Craigavon last week.

First Minister Peter Robinson said that although there were occasions when feelings might run high, “violence and rioting is not the answer”.

The ministers said “extensive work” had been undertaken by their office with community leaders in recent weeks to identify and calm potential flashpoints.

Mr Robinson called on “everyone to take a step back and think of the consequences before doing something which you will later regret”.

Peaceful summer

“In recent weeks the eyes of the world have focused in on Northern Ireland for both all the right reasons and, unfortunately, all the wrong reasons,” he said.

“As a government we are continuing to work hard to create jobs and investment and to build and grow our economy.

“We must not allow the progress that has been made to be thwarted by those who want to drag us back to the past. We are determined to build a better and brighter future for all in Northern Ireland.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said it was “in the interests of everyone” to ensure that Northern Ireland had a “peaceful summer”.

He said: “A lot of people have devoted many hours to ensuring that there is a bright future for us and our children.

“As a government we are committed to creating a better future for all. Some recent events do not help.

“Issues surrounding a small number of contentious parades need to be resolved.

“I call on elected representatives, community leaders and indeed everyone in positions of authority within local communities to use their influence wisely this summer.”

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