Political row averted over Mayor attack

Published Monday, 02 September 2013
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A political row has been averted after councillors at Belfast City Hall reached a compromise on Monday night over a Sinn Féin motion in support of the Lord Mayor.

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Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir was attacked by a loyalist crowd at a park in the north of the city last month.

He had to be shielded from protestors by police as he officially opened a children's park in north Belfast.

Protestors had gathered at Woodvale Park in the Shankill area and shouted abuse at the mayor as he was surrounded by officers trying to ensure his safety.

Nine PSNI members were injured during the scuffles, sustaining cuts and bruises.

Damage was also caused to his official vehicle when missiles were thrown by the crowd.

He had been attending the event to plant a tree and mark the spending of a £2m investment by Belfast City Council and the Department of Social Development (DSD).

On Monday evening at a meeting of Belfast City Council, Sinn Féin planned to put forward a motion condemning the attack and supporting the Lord Mayor's right to carry out civic duties in any part of the city.

But at the last minute, following a round of talks, they formally withdrew that motion and entered an alternative motion which was supported by all the parties.

It refers to all the violence of the summer and contains a commitment to show leadership.

Sinn Féin councillor Jim Mc Veigh explained: "There was agreement that all the parties would be prepared to condemn the despicable attack upon the mayor a couple of weeks ago here in Belfast - and for all of the parties to recommit themselves to the principles of equality and mutual respect."

He said that in order to facilitate this, Sinn Féin agreed to amend the motion.

DUP councillor Lee Reynolds described the situation on the streets, in areas like north Belfast, as "very tense".

"It's been progress that we've came together with an agreement," he admitted.

However, he continued saying that "it is easy to pass a motion with fine sounding words" - but making it a reality is the challenge.

© UTV News
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9 Comments
Taxi Paul in Beklfast wrote (226 days ago):
So Sinn fein do not support residents in objecting to unwanted individuals, parades and ceremonies. Will they be approaching all future events with this policy and appling this logic to all further protests? 'Our' Lord Mayor displayed the worst type of triumphalism in even attending the initial event. Every rational sensible person knew it would cause trouble (worth noting the police did'nt) and yet he attended to deliberately cause offence and confrontation. There is now a motion to remind us all about this ugly event well seems to me them folks on the hill seem to have little to do
Liam in Belfast wrote (226 days ago):
Ridiculous. Shows two things. 1 - Sinn Fein are willing to sacrifice more if it means there will be more peace and 2 - the DUP and co. do not want to move on or have any want to work with Catholics/Nationalists. All violence should be condemned from the outset...by everyone!!! Why have the DUP still not condemned all the violence?? Does Robinson not have any sort of voice when on tax payer funded holidays??
East in Belfast wrote (226 days ago):
Where is the mutual respect from Sinn fein ??? Belfast City Council pass DUP motion on congratulations to Duke & Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their first child, Prince George.BUT Sinn Fein abstained from the vote!! Where was the mutual respect in that ? Máirtín Ó Muilleoir a Sinn Féin councillor come lord mayor knew he was not welcome but still went.
Jim balacl in Enniskillen wrote (226 days ago):
Why wont the SinnFein major let the british flag fly on top of the town hall?
John Derry in Derry wrote (226 days ago):
Sinn Feinbthe boice of reason once again, PUL take note!
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