The MLA for east Belfast was speaking during an Assembly debate aimed at finding long-term solutions to on-going tensions on the streets, and said the tit-for-tat whataboutery among elected representatives must stop.
Chris Lyttle MLA said: “Regrettably violence and community relations remain issues we must address, but I must question the commitment of both the DUP and Sinn Fein. Earlier this year all Parties committed to support the rule of law, and to use stabilising rather than inflammatory language – but now I have to ask what happened.
“In recent weeks some elected representatives have displayed a total lack of leadership when needed most, flouted the rule of law and made such comments as to suggest the inevitable consequence of certain decisions was violence.
“The focus for political parties in Northern Ireland must be to condemn all violence and damage to community relations. Alliance has always been clear on the way forward – we need to integrate education, share space and create frameworks for flags, parades and the past.
“The failure of OFMdFM to face up to these issues and the many failed attempts to find a way forward has been felt by every member of this community; businesses and families alike.
“Richard Haass arrives next week with the aim to resolve how we deal with parades, flags and our past. The Alliance Party is fully committed to engagement on these issues, however we are not naive. The events of the summer present a distinct lack of political leadership. We will not agree on everything, but we can all commit to carrying out these talks with dignity, acknowledging that as elected representatives we represent everyone in our constituencies – not just a select few.
“Let us do all we can to build the future that the next generation deserves, a future that is shared and tolerant.”