Ritchie Calls on Orange Order to Show Leadership in Westminster
During a statement on the recent violence in Belfast, SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has called on the Secretary of State to join her in condemning those perpetrating and instigating the riots as opposed to castigating the Parades Commission.
Speaking from Westminster Ms Ritchie said: “The responsibility for this violence must be placed at the feet of those stoking the tension and bringing people out on the streets rather than the lawful decision of the Parades Commission.
“The reckless words and inflammatory rhetoric of many senior political and Orange Order figures prepared the ground for the violence that was to follow and they cannot abrogate their responsibility for it. This violence does not exist in a political vacuum and until people assume accountability for the direct line that runs from their words to these violent confrontations we will be left facing the same situation. That these disturbances did not happen throughout the north shows that responsible and reasonable dialogue can bring positive outcomes.
“Those in a position of responsibility in Unionism and the Orange Order must now show real leadership. That is what is needed to prevent a potentially tragic escalation in violence and in a wider scale bring us closer to that shared society we all want to see.”