10 July 2011
Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor condemns violence and calls for an atmosphere of respect in Northern Ireland
As a citizen and as Bishop of Down and Connor, I ask all fellow citizens and christians on the twelfth of July and in the days ahead to show the world that here in Northern Ireland we can live and let live in peace. Let us prove to ourselves and the world that we can celebrate our diversity in a manner that affirms our common dignity and future. Let us show that when confronted with conflicting rights and traditions we can make pathways of diversity and peace.
In recent days and weeks we have seen unwanted outbreaks of violence. Nobody wants these destructive acts, least of all local residents. They endanger life, hurt us all and damage hope for the future. This violence wrecks our tomorrow. It robs our children of future jobs and opportunities.
I ask all who will attend parades or protests in the days ahead to avoid provocation. I ask them to co-operate fully with and support the police who serve all of us. I ask them to ensure that young participants and observers act lawfully and responsibly at all times. I call on all leaders, groups and organisers to ensure that events are not manipulated by destructive influences from outside the communities where parades take place.
I encourage all of us, especially the communities of North and East Belfast :
• To give way to peace at all times, especially in the coming week;
• To resist all forms of provocation and violence for the sake of a better tomorrow and the greater good of all citizens;
• To support the PSNI in their presence and efforts to protect the community.
I pray that the words of the psalm will guide us all : “For he will speak peace unto his people and to his saints; but let them not turn again to folly” (ps. 85.8)
And may the peace of Christ be in all our hearts.
For further information
Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678, or Fr Edward Magee, Press Officer for the Diocese of Down & Connor, Mobile +44 7811144268, or Fr Tim Bartlett, Assistant to the Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland, Mobile +44 7879 416685