28 February 2006

Sectarian Thugs 'Smear' True Republicanism - Says Durkan

Derry Journal

Tuesday 28th February 2006

SECTARIAN THUGS who went on the rampage in Dublin's city centre at the weekend have "smeared" the name of true Irish republicanism, SDLP leader Mark Durkan has declared. The Foyle MP's outburst follows the violence which erupted in the heart of the Irish capital on Saturday afternoon when republican protesters tried to stop a loyalist march and rally.

Forty-one people were arrested and retailers claim they lost 10 million euro in sales after shoppers fled the area. During the trouble, Gardai and youths fought pitched battles along O'Connell Street where a "Love Ulster" rally to remember the victims of republican violence was to start. Mark Durkan has accused the rioters of besmirching "true Irish republicanism." "These rioters have disgraced themselves and given the organisers of this parade even more strife than they could have hoped for," he said. "The scenes of violence and the damage to property have been appalling and smear the name of true Irish republicanism. "If people are serious about having a united Ireland then they need to get serious about ensuring that those who live on this island and who are British have an equal place in it and their identity will be respected and protected.

"The sectarianism and thuggery on the streets of Dublin on Saturday will do nothing to advance that and stands in total contradiction to the true republicanism of decent people on this island." Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, meanwhile, also condemned the disturbances.

The Mid-Ulster MP remarked: "Sinn Fein advised all its members to stay away from the parade. Sinn Fein had no part in it whatsoever and totally condemns the actions of those involved in the trouble. "It was absolutely disgraceful and should not have happened. The march should have been allowed to pass off peacefully and without any interference," added Mr. McGuinness. The DUP's Gregory Campbell, who also condemned the violence, said it was ludicrous to suggest that the disturbances may have set back prospects for the eventual reunification of the country. "Whether it is flower petals or shards of glass being thrown, it doesn't make any difference because there is not going to be a united Ireland," said the East Derry MP. "If the situation had been entirely different and Saturday had turned out peaceful, then people would have been saying it had advanced the prospects for a united Ireland. Both suggestions are equally nonsensical because it simply isn't going to happen," Mr. Campbell added.

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