Belfast mayor's vow after attack

Published Wednesday, 07 August 2013
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The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Sinn Féin's Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, has vowed to continue to represent all the citizens of the city despite being targeted by loyalist protestors at a civic opening on Tuesday.

Belfast mayor's vow after attack
Mayor Ó Muilleoir said he will continue to represent all of Belfast's citizens. (© UTV)

On Tuesday the Sinn Féin representative was forced to flee the ceremony at a children's playpark in Woodvale Park in the Shankill area after he was mobbed by an angry crowd.

He was checked in hospital and was said to be "sore" afterwards. Nine police officers were also injured as they led the city's first citizen to safety.

It had emerged on Tuesday that the DUP had written to the Lord Mayor warning him not to go to the Woodvale area for the event.

Reacting on Wednesday, Mr Ó Muilleoir said he always considered advice from the PSNI as regards to safety at events.

"The first thing we should commend the police officers who were attacked yesterday," he said.

"My schedule will be set by the officers, by those who invite me and on the advice, always, of the PSNI.

"So there may be some elements within the DUP who wish to set my schedule for me but I'm not going to accept that."

The mayor said he has been contacted by politicians from different parties since the incident.

"I think people are revulsed by this but they believe in Belfast like I do. We're going to continue to push Belfast on. We come from a very dark place, a dark past," he continued.

"There's a small violent element who attacked the police, they did it on the Twelfth of July, they did it yesterday - they want to attack the first citizen.

"My message to the people of Belfast is don't be distracted, don't be deflected. I said I'd represent everybody in the city, I said I'd visit every part of the city. We're going to proceed cautiously. We want to build the peace and I'm convinced that I have the good wishes of the vast majority of Belfast."

I have been telling everyone in this city that I represent all the people in the city and I'm going to continue to do that.

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, Belfast Lord Mayor

DUP councillor Brian Kingston condemned the attack on Wednesday.

"That violence is wrong," Mr Kingston commented.

"I do not condone violence. It should not have happened. And it takes away from whatever message people are trying to make by having a protest - that is always the case.

"I'm aware that the Lord Mayor was injured, police officers were injured and some of the protestors were injured. That happened when the police formed this tight cordon and forced their way through the protesting crowd in order to get the Lord Mayor safely out of the location."

He added: "But all of that takes away from people's legitimate protests and legitimate grievances."

Meanwhile Sinn Féin's group leader in Belfast, Cllr Jim McVeigh has called for the DUP to bring all their members into line with party policy, claiming that William Humphrey, the former DUP group leader on the council, had refused to talk to their party.

Mr Humphrey had said on Tuesday that the protest was a response to Mr Ó Muilleoir's part in Sinn Féin supporting the restricting of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall back in November.

"It seems that Cllr. Humphrey, who also double jobs as an Assembly member, has missed the point that his party leader jointly leads the Executive alongside Martin McGuinness. He seems locked in a pre-peace process time warp," Cllr McVeigh commented.

"It is the sort of mindset that prevents him from condemning attacks like the one yesterday on the Mayor or tries to explain away the placing of religious statues on loyalist bonfires over the Twelfth.

"The DUP have many good and decent members in Belfast City Hall who want to engage and want work collectively for the betterment of Belfast. They are being held back by the sectarian and backward behaviour of a few."

PSNI North Belfast Area Commander Chief Inspector Andy Freeburn has branded Tuesday's event as "appalling" and has said officers will be investigating with a view to identifying those responsible.

© UTV News
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69 Comments
Eamo in Belfast wrote (405 days ago):
To Jackie yeah it was true that catholic policemen were targeted but so were protestant ones, it was not soley cause the were catholic. And no it is not the reason N.Ireland football team is bigoted. It is the likes of you that sit in the stands singing the Billy Boys and the Sash that make catholics unwelcome. Linfield and tge northern irish team talk of stamping the sectarianism out if football well bar everyone who sings these revolting songs. And no i am maybe older than you as i have stated in previous posts but you seem very new here that as a child i remember going and watching the 12th but it was not as sectarian back then. I do not remember the scum bands with their sectarian tunes or people holding up fingers as they past places of masacres indicating the amount dead or even been told i was second class as is the norm now. So dont paint the OO as lily white as the KKK garb, as they have yet to appologise for any of the above or many other sickening things they and their followers have done. Please respond with articulation not one of half tought out one liners.
jackie in belfast wrote (405 days ago):
@Eamo in Belfast sorry I forgot your comment about the police having to recruit on a 50/50 basis to get equality,well in fact they discriminated against protestants in favour of catholics to get a more equal looking force.In case you are to young to remember,the reason why there was such a small number of catholics in the police was because they were targeted for murder and intimidation by the PIRA, so this was the main driving force why they didn`t join!!!I suppose it won`t be long before you are posting that the Northern Ireland football team are sectarian because most of the team are made up of protestants ? Have a guess at why this is now the case!!
madraj55 in derry wrote (405 days ago):
Mick in Belfast[...shown their true selves...]The atmoshere of hate now isn't much different coming from socalled loyalists in 1968/69 as the hatred and anti-catholic bigotry predates the troubles O'neill in his TV speech in December 1968, said 'Ulster stands at the Crossroads' and invited people to choose whether this place could function as a normal entity.Haughey was proved right.It wasn't then nor is it now and while it exists never will be normal.
Eamo in Belfast wrote (405 days ago):
To jackie in belfast @Eamo in Belfast your post is a joke as usual,playing the victim card.Tell me what the average joe from the unionist side of the fence has got that the average joe on the nationalist side has not ? Well Jackie lets look at top jobs in the Civil Service. There is not a fair representation there is there? The PSNI had to recruit on a 50/50 basis to get equality there. These are inly a few. There is inequality in housing, North Belfast has the largest population homeless and the largest group is Nationalist. Mr mcCausland then in Girdwood had the chance but refused to help rectify this. And has sent the improvement oppertunity in NB to a protestant areas again is this not bigotry? Please tell me how these and manu more are the poor me's?
Reflection in The mirror wrote (406 days ago):
Ive read many comments on this site and many on different topics . Some have made me laugh and others have made me cringe but then cones along a statement by b/o/p and this made me sit up and look in the mirror Its ok ranting on this but we ALL need to step back and look at our selves.WE ARE THE PROBLEM! we voted these people in, we turned the blind eye, we got angry when things didnt go our way The future for this country? WHO KNOWS!
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BRIAN ROWAN
The voice above the crowd didn't come from within that increasingly tense and angry political arena.
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