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Mutual respect needed to solve parades issue

Whatever the political complexities at play in north Belfast, it is disappointing to once again see a place of worship at the centre of violence, which led to the injury of some of our police officers at the weekend.

It is equally disappointing that some politicians chose to enflame tensions before the Royal Black Institution march past St Patrick's Church on Saturday.

The Parades Commission has a desperate task in balancing the rights of different groups.

However, we should always be clear that there is never any excuse for provocation, or insults - whether they come from loyalist bands or republican protesters.

There are many people within the north Belfast community working hard to build social stability and create conditions for economic investment. Their efforts bring the best out of north Belfast and its young people and we must be careful that they are not undermined.

In spite of the issue of parading being a central part of the Hillsborough Agreement, the parties at Stormont have as yet failed to devise an alternative to the Parades Commission which is acceptable to all sides.

In the meantime, contentious marches must be resolved through dialogue, co-operation with the commission and some responsibility on behalf of the protagonists.

Let's see respect between fellow Christians, a responsible attitude from politicians and an end to ugly scenes like the weekend's.

TREVOR RINGLAND

NI Conservatives

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