As Lord Mayor, Cllr Tom Ekin met many times with members of communities living and working at interface areas, with members of Unionist and Nationalist traditions, and with representatives of Loyalism and Republicanism, trying to help them in any practical way to accommodate each other’s legitimate aspirations.
He believes that their were some clear successes, but much more is needed.
He said ” Most of people seemed genuine in their desire to reduce tensions, not to rub each others noses in victory or defeat, and to reach some form of accommodation. It is vital for the achievement of a “normal future” for our children and our parents that we stop confronting each other. We don’t’ have to be geniuses to see the damage and hopelessness which is created by our mutual intransigence, insensitivity and intolerance”
Leaving a Police Liaison Committee meeting he also said that ” the violence created or orchestrated by which ever side is totally unacceptable and that the damage should not be accepted by the broad spectrum of ordinary decent people. Parents must take responsibility for their off spring no matter what age those off spring might be – be they 5 years old or 25.”
Cllr Ekin remembered the Radio statements of protesting mothers recently when they said ” the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world”. He would encourage those ladies to exert that great power and help control the youngsters who get sucked into violent sectarianism, so that this coming weekend passes off peacefully, particularly at the Whiterock parade.
Former Lord Mayor Ekin said “Belfast thanks all those people who genuinely try to stop sectarian violence, people who put their safety on the line, people who genuinely want our differences sorted out peacefully”
Tom Ekin calls for everyone to “Cool” their behaviour, which was the plea from the several interface groups whom he met.