Statement by Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, Violence delays real solutions
The summer ought to be a time when people of all ages can relax. However, this year, some communities are again facing into these next days with fear and concern.
I know that traditional marches can give rise to strong emotions. For some they are cherished cultural events. For others, a small minority of marches still cause genuine anger and apprehension. However, our political leaders have shown that, whatever concerns individuals and communities may have, the only way to resolve these is through dialogue. It is possible to find peaceful outcomes, even to long standing grievances. Violent actions benefit no-one. They simply delay the search for agreed ways forward.
Local people have told me that they do not want violent confrontations in their communities. They have to live there 365 days each year. They have to pick up the pieces after outsiders have left.
I therefore call upon all those involved in marches or protests to
- Ensure that their activities are conducted in a way that causes no damage or harm to the communities affected;
- Do everything to discourage people from other areas coming in to exploit local grievances;
- Be ready to engage with all parties in the area affected in genuine attempts to find solutions;
- Avoid actions and words that would damage rather than help relationships;
- Help young people to learn non-violent ways of resolving disputes;
- Co-operate with the PSNI and other statutory authorities in preserving the peace.
I ask people of good will to pray that solutions can be found to all sources of contention.
Media contact: Fr Edward McGee, Tel. 078111 44268