Local Unionists blind to loyalist activity

East Belfast Alliance Assembly Member, Naomi Long, today hit out at the response of local unionist politicians to recent events in East Belfast, accusing them of having ‘sectarian myopia’.

Cllr Long said, “The response of local unionist and loyalist elected representatives to recent criminal activity by loyalists in East Belfast has

been underwhelming to say the very least.

“This week in East Belfast, loyalists ruptured a gas pipe line with a bonfire, putting the lives of local residents at risk. They assaulted and injured police officers who were going to the aid of people being attacked by a mob at another bonfire site, stealing a gun and radio in the process. To crown it out, the UVF fired a volley of shots at a third site in East Belfast.

“Despite the flurry of loyalist criminality in their own area our usually vocal local representatives have had little to say by way of condemnation, yet they they did find the time to get involved in the condemnation of nationalist rioters across the city and throughout Northern Ireland, in areas which they don,t even represent in many cases.

“They appear to be suffering from a remarkable kind of sectarian myopia. This short-sightedness prevents them from seeing what’s happening in their own community under their noses, but allows them to see in great detail and comment copiously on what is happening in others — so long as, of course, republicans are involved.

“Perhaps with more visionary public leadership from local unionist and loyalist elected representatives, the situation in East Belfast would be able to progress beyond the current self-defeating cycle of lawlessness and violence.”


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