The Alliance Group leader was speaking after the January meeting of Belfast City Council, where she condemned the recent violence that has broken out on the back of Union flag protests.
Councillor Maire Hendron said: “Many in the Unionist community in Belfast and beyond have expressed their disappointment at the democratic decision made at the December meeting.
“They have every right to protest peacefully, but even from the December meeting there have been those intent on turning peaceful means to violent ones. Even on the night the decision was made there were those who attended the peaceful protest outside the City Hall armed with wire cutters, bricks and other objects used to attack others.
“The attacks on persons, property, police and the rule of law which we have witnessed over the past weeks have been unparalleled in the history of this province. There have been a number of reasons suggested for the on-going violence, none of which justifies the unlawful and criminal actions we have witnessed.
“One thing is certain – the reputation of this city and the province of Northern Ireland has yet again been dragged through the gutter. We are an object of derision throughout the world from Canada to Australia to many European cities.
“What is the solution? Obviously we have all got to share our future in Northern Ireland in a manner which is fair and equitable for all. All elected members of the Council must work together and play our part in achieving this objective and show that we are committed to creating a shared society for all across Belfast.
“I would urge all Council groups to unite with the Alliance Party in condemning the violence and urging on-going protests to stop, before working together to create a shared society that is welcoming to all.”