/Taoiseach warns of returning to past in Northern Ireland | Buzz.ie

Taoiseach warns of returning to past in Northern Ireland | Buzz.ie

TAOISEACH Micheal Martin has warned Northern Ireland must not go back to “that dark place of sectarian murders and political discord” after another night of rioting.

Speaking on the 23rd anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said politicians owed it to younger generations to avoid a return of the dark days of the Troubles.

Friday’s unrest saw 14 police officers injured, bringing the total number of officers injured to 88.

Of the 1998 peace accord, he added: “Perhaps its most visible success is that a whole generation of young people have grown up not knowing or experiencing the violence that accompanied the Troubles.

“We owe it to the Agreement generation and indeed future generations not to spiral back to that dark place of sectarian murders and political discord. There is now a particular onus on those of us who currently hold the responsibility of political leadership to step forward and play our part and ensure this cannot happen.

“I am determined to work with the British government, the Executive and all political parties to protect the Good Friday Agreement, in all its parts.”

Officers were pelted with petrol bombs and masonry during three hours of disorder on Friday, the PSNI said yesterday.

Trouble flared in the Atlantic Road area of Coleraine where a crowd of around 40 people – many of them wearing masks – attempted to block the road by setting fire to pallets.

Police were also attacked with missiles and a car was set on fire in a separate incident at Tiger’s Bay, a loyalist area in North Belfast, where three teenagers were arrested.

On Saturday, two men charged with rioting offences in the Lanark Way area of West Belfast during the week were denied bail at Laganside Court.

Chief Superintendent Davy Beck told the Sunday Mirror: “The senseless disorder we saw unfold in a residential area in Coleraine has achieved nothing but leave people petrified in their homes.

“Such reckless criminal activity has only served to harm the local community by those who deliberately chose to engage in such disorder.”

Three teenagers, all aged 14, were arrested at Tiger’s Bay in North Belfast following the disorder on Friday and have been released pending further inquiries.

During the disorder – which started shortly after 5pm – petrol bombs and masonry, including roof tiles, were thrown at police.

There was an attempt to hijack vehicles on Limestone Road and, on North Queen Street, a car was hijacked and set on fire and pushed towards police.

Loyalists have urged their communities to end any protests as a mark of respect for the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on Friday.

Despite this, small pockets of unrest continued.