Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Trouble fear over Thatcher funeral

PSNI officers are preparing to deal with violence following Baroness Thatcher's funeral

Police in Northern Ireland are braced for trouble following Baroness Thatcher's funeral.

Resources will be brought to Londonderry to deal with any violence on Wednesday, a senior officer said.

Clashes between nationalists and residents of the mainly Protestant Fountain estate in the city have followed the former Prime Minister`s death. A protest event is expected at nearby Free Derry Corner after her funeral.

Police Service of Northern Ireland chief superintendent Stephen Cargin said: "Police in Foyle are confident that they have the necessary resources in place to respond to any disorder that may take place."

The district commander added: "It is clear that there are elements out there encouraging our young people to get mixed up in violence and disorder. They are putting young people at risk and causing damage within the local community. Parents need to take an active interest in what their children are doing."

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds has condemned a group of "sick" Cliftonville football fans who celebrated the death of Baroness Thatcher by carrying a coffin with a witch's hat on it through Belfast, prior to winning the Irish League. The Falls Road in West Belfast has also been a site for anti-Thatcher parties.

Stormont's Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said she had not yet seen footage of the alleged incident involving the coffin that has emerged on the internet. But she told Assembly members that it was her understanding that supporters of Cliftonville were not responsible.

"I did ask people who were there and they said it was not Cliftonville fans who were involved in that activity," she said during Assembly question time. "Had that activity occurred in the Cliftonville grounds we would be having a different conversation, but it didn't."

Urging MLAs to give Cliftonville FC the time to make its own assessment of the incident, the Sinn Fein minister said she believed activities celebrating Mrs Thatcher's death were "undignified".

She said: "In terms of people celebrating Maggie Thatcher's passing, (you) see regardless of how they feel about that, and I have my own feelings, and regardless of her legacy on this island - which was not good and the fact that she's even a divisive character in her own country - I just don't think it's befitting that, (for) somebody that brought nothing but misery, humiliation and degradation to this country, (that people) should behave in a way that's undignified, they shouldn't follow in her footsteps. I would encourage no-one to get involved in that activity."

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