C OMMUNITY workers in the nationalist Short Strand area of East Belfast have been praised for helping to alleviate interface trouble during the annual Somme commemoration parade.
The ‘mini twelfth’ parade, which passed Short Strand at the Albertbridge Road, passed off without incident on Monday night. However, loyalists later clashed with police in nearby Castlereagh Street with ten officers injured. Seven people were subsequently charged in relation to the clashes.
Sinn Féin Councillor for the area, former Belfast Lord Mayor Niall Ó Donnghaile, commended the work that was done in the aftermath of the parade.
“I want to firstly commend those community leaders from both sides who once again took to the streets to help defuse any tension on the ground during Monday night’s contentious loyal order parade. This followed engagement with the local PSNI in the run-up to last night,” he said.
“What cannot be avoided any longer, however, are the annual tensions caused by this particular leg of the mini-twelfth parade. During the Balmoral Review event in May I believe leadership was very clearly demonstrated when the Albertbridge Road/Short Strand leg of that procession was avoided in order to prevent undue and unnecessary tensions. Residents in the Short Strand cannot understand why the same logic wasn’t applied to Monday night’s parade, given the problems that it presents to communities on both sides, year after year.”