Dickson says Robinson should admit DUP culpability in flag trouble

Alliance Chief Whip Stewart Dickson MLA has said that Peter Robinson must admit the DUP’s key role in the flag trouble which erupted as they and their friends directly distributed 40,000 inflammatory leaflets that stoked tensions.

Stewart Dickson was responding to comments made by Peter Robinson at the DUP spring conference, who said that the flag trouble was a disaster for Northern Ireland.

Stewart Dickson MLA said: “Mr Robinson and other Unionist leaders stoked and played on the fears of their supporters, when in fact Belfast Council was falling into line with Unionist controlled Councils like Lisburn and Craigavon who fly the Union flag on designated days.

“He must also comment on the numerous occasions in which elected representatives in his party attended flag protests, even after he called for the protests to end.

“The DUP have attempted to lay the blame at the door of everybody else except their own.

“I agree with Mr Robinson when he says that the flag trouble has resulted in lost business, lost tourism, injuries to police officers and many young people receiving criminal records. All of which could have been avoided by he and his Party providing leadership in Belfast, instead they choose to stoke up tensions by distributing 40,000 inflammatory leaflets before December’s vote.

“He also spoke of building a shared society, yet his creation of the tribal Unionist Forum, his skewed vision of integrated education and his objection to the shared future decision taken at Belfast Council, shows that he is only interested in working for one section of the community.

“There is an urgent need for genuine and committed leadership to provide a shared community for everyone, that is the real challenge Mr Robinson needed to put to his party at his spring conference, and that is the challenge that faces him and his key partner in Government Mr McGuinness.”


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