Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 May 2016

PSNI and loyalists in talks to ease tensions


Published 15/11/2013

PSNI officers on the Lower Newtownards road, Belfast January 5 2013
PSNI officers on the Lower Newtownards road, Belfast January 5 2013
Loyalists clash with PSNI officers on the Newtownards road in east Belfast
Loyalists hurl bricks and other missiles at police during violence last summer
Battle lines: PSNI officers at Ardoyne during violence this summer
An injured officer is helped away after being injured during loyalist riots
Loyalists confront police in north Belfast last summer, following the decision to bar Orangemen from walking through Ardoyne

Talks aimed at reducing parades and interface tensions have resumed in Belfast with agreement to continue to try to improve relations between loyalists and the PSNI.

The talks started in May, when police, community representatives and politicians gathered in Cardiff to discuss ways of easing tensions before the marching season kicked off.

Despite the Cardiff talks in May, which police said would make the summer safer, Northern Ireland witnessed one of the most heated parading seasons of recent years.

Following yesterday's meeting Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton, who has facilitated the talks, described the discussion as "constructive, open and frank".

He said the group had agreed on a number of points, including that the Richard Haass talks had a "profound importance on the future". Participants also agreed that principles agreed in Cardiff were "fundamental" to building relations.

Junior Minister Jonathan Bell MLA said: "We support the rule of law but what we're doing in a meeting shared with the police is looking at how we can build relationships."

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