Monthly Archives: February 1998

Alliance Deputy Leader, Alderman Sean Neeson, has condemned today’s bomb attack in Portadown.

Alderman Neeson said:

“I condemn without reservation this disgraceful attack, which is clearly not only an attack on the homes and livelihoods of ordinary people, but an attack on the integrity of the Talks process.”

Alliance Party Chief Whip, Sean Neeson has attacked the hypocrisy of Sinn Fein in trying to portray themselves as victims of the talks process.

Alderman Neeson said:

“Unlike the Loyalist paramilitaries, not once has Sinn Fein apologized to the thousands of real victims who have been murdered and maimed by the bombs and bullets of the IRA. It is sickening to most people in Northern Ireland to watch these apologists for violence troop with crocodile tears on the streets because of their legitimate, albeit temporary, expulsion from the talks.”

Alliance Deputy Leader, Seamus Close, has condemned today’s murder of a man in Dunmurry.

Seamus Close, Lisburn Borough Councillor, said:

“Whatever the circumstances, there is no justification for a single one of the recent murders and shootings. None of the organisations involved have the right to take away human life.”

Alliance Party Chief Whip, Sean Neeson, has called for the Talks Process to put a greater emphasis on Northern Ireland’s future links with the European Union.

Mr Neeson said:

“The Scottish and Welsh Offices have already started major promotional work in Brussels in advance of devolution being established in their countries. They obviously recognise the importance of direct links with the EU, especially as the United Kingdom government becomes more decentralised.

“Northern Ireland people must have a more direct role in negotiating with the EU, as the Europe of the Regions and the principle of subsidiarity become a reality.”

Cllr Steve McBride, Alliance Party spokesman on Justice and Human Rights has criticised government proposals to amend the forthcoming Parades legislation to require objectors to give two weeks notice of protests against marches.

Cllr McBride said:

“The Parades legislation now before Parliament is extremely important, but the latest proposed government amendment is unwise, unworkable, and unhelpful. It seeks to throw a sop to Unionists by drawing a false comparison between marchers and protesters which will not be in any way helpful in resolving these difficult situations. Those who organise marches are part of organisations and obviously make their plans in advance – they can reasonable be expected to give notice in good time. Protests on the other hand can emerge at short notice and are not normally organised by formal organisations, and of course protesters are in any event covered by general public order legislation. To effectively make illegal a protest for which two weeks notice has not been given is an infringement of civil liberties and one which will simply lead to increased tension and argument. This vital legislation on a crucial issue should not be endangered by this spurious and misguided political juggling act.”

Alliance Councillor David Ford, has slammed those who distributed LVF posters in South Antrim at the weekend.

David Ford said:

“These posters were nothing but a crude attempt by Loyalist terrorists to impose their will on local people. I condemn all such intimidation, wherever it comes from.

“At The Talks in London last week, the UDP delegation walked out because other parties joined Alliance in making clear that we believed them to be in breach of the Mitchell principles.

“Afterwards, there was a much more constructive atmosphere, and some progress was made.

“It is important at this time that all parties, and all responsible leaders, stand together in support of the talks process and against all those who would try to disrupt the hopes invested in The Talks.”

Councillor David Ford, Alliance Spokesperson for South Antrim, has congratulated the organisers of last weeks peace rallies.

David Ford said:

“It was important that people had the opportunity to show their opposition to violence. After all the murders last month, there was a feeling of great fear across Northern Ireland.

“By coming together at a number of rallies, ordinary people – both Catholic and Protestant – showed their commitment to building a peaceful society here.

“As I was in Belfast, I attended the rally at the City Hall. I was disgusted by the behaviour of a group of Republicans who attempted to hijack the rally for their own purposes.

“Fortunately, the great majority of those present treated this behaviour with disdain, and showed their opposition to violence from all sides.”