Lyttle: Rule of law must be upheld

Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has said there must be a united and unequivocal rejection of the violence which unfolded over the past 24 hours across Northern Ireland.

Speaking after disturbances across Ards and North Down, Derry-Londonderry and East Belfast – which included a UVF threat – Mr Lyttle said the rule of law must always be upheld.

He added: “The events of last night will have been terrifying for many people and I commend the courage and professionalism of the public and emergency services as they worked to bring a quick and effective end to all disturbances.

“People have been living in fear, initially as a result of the potential impact some bonfires could have on their safety and their property, and secondly from a UVF threat that came in response to the necessary and proper actions of public and emergency services taken to ensure the safety of all.

“The reality is that across Belfast, and Northern Ireland, the majority of bonfires took place in a peaceful manner, but if lives and property are at risk action must be taken and I commend DFI for taking the steps it did.

“It is clear more work needs to be done to ensure all cultural expression is safe, respectful and lawful and to rid our community of the scourge of paramilitarism.

“To do this all political parties must work together, with full support for the PSNI a willingness to challenge self-appointed spokespeople who serve only to raise anger and division.

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