Dickson appeals for calm ahead of July celebrations

Alliance Justice Spokesperson Stewart Dickson has called for all communities to remain calm ahead of the Twelfth celebrations this week.

Mr Dickson was speaking ahead of today’s traditional 11th of July celebrations, emphasising the onus is on all political parties to ensure the working group due to start in September delivers real answers.

He said: “In the lead up to the traditional celebrations on Friday, I would appeal for all areas to remain calm. The recent G8 showcased the beauty of Northern Ireland to the world and it would be severely damaging for this good work to unravel through violence that could have been avoided.

“In a number of areas small steps have been taken to try and ensure the coming days pass peacefully. While this may not have worked out exactly as those involved had hoped, it is now up to community and political representatives to show real leadership and help extinguish any growing tensions.

“The Assembly has no authority over parades and while next week’s recall will provide an opportunity for all sides to outline their frustrations and concerns, the real work to enact change will start in September when the working group meets for the first time.

“We should not let the recall overshadow the appointment of well-respected former US diplomat Richard Haass to chair this all important group. Alliance will be pushing to ensure a fair solution on parades, protests, flags, symbols, emblems and other related matters is found, creating a more inclusive future for everyone in Northern Ireland.”

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