Belfast riots show how 'toxins of the past have not abated'

Belfast riots show how 'toxins of the past have not abated'

THE ongoing riots in Northern Ireland show  "how the toxins of the divisive past have not entirely abated," President Michael D. Higgins has told members of Britain's Irish community.

Speaking at the Haringey Irish Centre this morning, Ireland's President roundly condemned the violent rioting of loyalists which he said was "simply unacceptable".

He added that “much more work remains to be done" to eliminate "all forms of sectarianism" which he said should be "outrightly and unconditionally condemned".

Elaborating on his comments to journalists later, President Higgins said: "I think what people could see on their screens is simply unacceptable."

The President added that "those who have influence in Northern Ireland must accept their responsibilities to forthrightly say what is simply not acceptable and call for leadership from those who believe in peace.

"Peace is much more than signatures on a piece of paper. It is about inter-community relations," he added.

Commenting on the pipe bombs, blast bombs and petrol bombs that injured more than 70 to police officers, President Higgins added: "How can anyone justify so many policemen being injured in behaviour that would not be accepted at any time in any part of the world?"

Referring to leaders of the orange orders who called for the protests that led to the riots, the President said: "There are clearly questions to be answered. And the Government, no doubt, and the inter-governmental relationships will talk about that."