Brazil trip off amid parade concerns

Published Wednesday, 18 June 2014
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First Minister Peter Robinson has said he is so concerned about Twelfth parade tensions he has cancelled two planned trips to remain in Northern Ireland.

The DUP leader was supposed to be travelling to Brazil in July on a business mission alongside Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, however the visit now appears to be off.

Mr Robinson said the recent decision by the Parades Commission not to allow an Orange Order march to pass the Ardoyne shops interface in north Belfast has "sent out a bad message".

While the parade passed off peacefully on 7 June, the First Minister told UTV he is "very concerned" that tensions could spill over into trouble next month.

He said: "I'm getting reports back that, as a result of the Parades Commission's ludicrous decision to cave in to the threat of violence, they have sent out a very bad message to the community.

"What they are effectively saying is whoever has the biggest stick to wield is the one we'll give in to and that indicates there will be a lot of anger and the tension is such that it can spill over.

"For that reason I have put off two trips I was supposed to do during the course of July because of my concern of where the situation might be on the ground."

Mr Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness had been expected to go to Brazil to develop trade links, after being invited by business leaders in the South American country.

Following the comments, Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has urged the DUP to engage "immediately" in talks to deal with flags, parades and the past.

Mr Kelly said: "The talks involving the party leaders need to proceed immediately and urgently.

"It is essential that we put our own house in order so that we become a more attractive option for foreign investors.

"If Peter Robinson is serious he should now seriously engage in dealing with these toxic issues."

© UTV News
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23 Comments
kieran in omagh wrote (134 days ago):
Here we have a man who is supposed to be encouraging everyone to uphold the law instead by his insinuating a "ludicrous decision" by the parades commission and his derogatory language about who has the biggest stick etc and by the fact that he says trouble is expected its like hes trying to inflame the situation.. scaremongering !! Also would it not be better for him to continue with the investment trip so that future generations are not stuck in this hole ? Why do we keep electing the same people ??( and I mean on both sides )
alan in enniskillen wrote (134 days ago):
If G Kelly was prepared to admit an d confess to all the wrongs he perpetrated in the past along with all the other members of the assembly, we as a protestant community may be able to move forward. We need clarity and justice on all historical events just like the republicans. All i here about is inquiries for one side of the community and not the other, this is why the protests go on.
Derry in Derry wrote (134 days ago):
Disgrace trade and jobs are are less important than the so called marching season
Owen in Belfast wrote (134 days ago):
Wow, yet again Peter Robinson stirring things up. Even mentioning the possibility of trouble outs people on edge. Brilliant idea, sure never mind trying to attract investment in Brazil and boosting our economy. Instead, incite riots and cost the taxpayer money. Great leadership...
mike in Derry wrote (134 days ago):
giving for too much importance to trouble makers. The economy and economic situation for all in norn iron should come first. I am embarrassed with his leadership, or lack of.
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