GP delayed over flag protest

Published Saturday, 12 January 2013
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A south Belfast woman has told UTV of her frustration as protests held up the GP trying to get through to treat her terminally ill father.

GP delayed over flag protest
Four police officers were injured during disorder in Newtownabbey on Friday. (© Pacemaker)

Pat Kerr has cancer and as his doctor attempted to make a home visit, he was told to "wait until the protests were over".

Mr Kerr's daughter Nicky said the GP did make it to their home, but said it has made her scared for the future.

"If the roads are blocked we are sitting ducks. We can't get him to a hospital," she said.

"That's a real fear. It's already a very stressful situation without worrying if we can get him to the hospital or to medical attention.

"To me, the most important thing is someone's health, rather than anything else that's going on."

I don't even know if it's anger, it's disbelief that a protest and a flag is put ahead of someone in need of medical urgency.

Nicky Kerr

Trouble flared across Northern Ireland on Friday evening, with much of the disorder concentrated in Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus.

Police were pelted with 33 petrol bombs and other missiles during disorder in the Co Antrim towns. In Newtownabbey, a double decker bus, which had been hijacked earlier, was set on fire.

Five baton rounds were deployed and the water cannon was used. In Carrick, two people, including a 15-year-old boy, were arrested and they appeared in court on Saturday accused of riotous assembly.

The teenager has been released on bail, while 30-year-old Aaron Andrews, from Oakwood in the town, was remanded into custody.

East Antrim DUP MLA Sammy Wilson said the disorder was damaging the cause and the community.

"The question is, do any of these protests get the protestors and all of us who want to see the flag up any closer to our objective of restoring the Union flag at Belfast City Hall, and of course the answer is no," he said.

Mr Wilson added that demonstrators need to find more peaceful, effective means of putting across their concerns.

"The objective at the end of the day is to try and make sure that our British identity is not eroded and if there are more positive ways of doing that then that's what we want to talk to people about, and find a direction which we can show them."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
25 Comments
Damian in Fermanagh wrote (553 days ago):
Is it now the case people can go out and block roads and prevent people from driving their normal routes to work, shops etc? Is it not the job of the police service to make sure the roads remain open for all commuters? If they cannot do their job get someone who can! btw the police tactics used in the Holylands a number of years ago was far more aggressive, but this time it looks like their approach is "please don't be bad".
mich in belfast wrote (554 days ago):
This is an absolute disgrace, what is it going to take for this to STOP? Someone dying or will they use that as an excuse to cause so much trouble too!! The ministers in Stormont need to get off their back sides and put a stop to this NOW, they cannot sit and say they don't have the power because they do, individuals up there know the ones personally who are behind this and it is disgusting that they sit in their safe homes every night unaffected when ordinary working people whos taxes are paying for them to sit on their back sides, suffer continuously! If the trouble makers put as much effort into getting jobs and giving back to communities it would suit them better. Benefits should be stopped, that would soon curb them or give the PSNI the power to go in heavy handed as they would in any other country in the world faced with this nonsense!
Ian in Carrickfergus wrote (555 days ago):
I am totally against these protests but I am aware of a number of instances in the Carrickfergus and Ballyclare areas were emergency vehicles such as ambulances, ambulance mini-buses and the on-call Dalriada doctors being given free passage through the protests. I even heard of nurses on their way to work night shift in Antrim being allowed through. Not all protesters are without compassion.
Graham in East Belfast wrote (555 days ago):
I witnessed these bully boys force residents of my street in the Lower Newtonards Road out of their homes and onto the streets to illegally block roads. The police need to get tough with this rabble.
PD in Belast wrote (555 days ago):
If we accept that the protestors have a right to protest then the protesters must also accept that no individuals human rights should be undermined by the actions of the protestors and the police have a duty of care to protect those individuals going about their business most especially emergency services.
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