First Minister Peter Robinson has launched a stinging attack on ACC Alistair Finlay who challenged him and Martin Mc Guinness to show a united front against the rioting in recent days. As I noted this morning, Mr Finlay said on the Nolan Show this morning that neither the First or deputy first minister had been in touch with him in the run up to the Twelfth. This afternoon Peter Robinson and Matin Mc Guinness issued a statement.
Mr Robinson roundly condemned the violence and then turned his attention to the comments of the senior PSNI in charge of the Twelfth in Belfast. He said:
“I am disappointed to hear some of the comments from ACC Finlay and look forward to meeting with the Chief Constable shortly to discuss the events of the last forty eight hours and ACC Finlay’s unhelpful and unacceptable remarks. We must keep our entire focus on defeating those who would seek through violence and destruction to drag us back.
“I would like to thank the PSNI officers on the ground for all their efforts to restore law and order to our streets. In particular my thoughts and prayers are with the policewoman injured in the course of her duties last night. I trust she will make a speedy recovery.
Mr Mc Guinness said:
“Our experience demonstrates that the way to deal with any disputes or contention is through dialogue and agreement. There are numerous examples that show this to be the way forward. We are currently consulting on legislation that aims to provide a workable framework for dealing with contentious parades. Let’s be clear there is no excuse for the violent scenes and attacks on police, property and the community that we have witnessed in recent days.
“We are resolute in our commitment to tackle sectarianism and will continue to work with all communities to promote good relations. This will require the community to stand united against all those forces seeking to bring conflict back on to our streets.”