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Campbell’s warning over rising tensions

Gregory Campbell outing going MLA who was returned to Foyle.  (1005JB06)

Gregory Campbell outing going MLA who was returned to Foyle. (1005JB06)

East Derry MP Gregory Campbell has warned of rising tensions within nationalist and republican communities.

The DUP politician made the claim after more than a month of unrest within unionist and loyalist communities which has led to violence against the PSNI - including gun attacks - sparked by Belfast City Council’s vote to restrict the flying of the union flag.

Yesterday, PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott said he believed senior members of the UVF were involved in orchestrating the violence which has erupted in a number of areas across the North.

A number of nationalist politicians have also received threats in relation to the row over the flags issue.

Mr Campbell acknowledged the loyalist protests and warned of the possibility “further problems” connected to the issue.

However, he also warned that an escalation of dissident republican violence is also possible.

“It is likely that inter community tensions will rise as a result of a range of events throughout NI. The dissident terror threat level has the capacity to escalate and possible further killings after the David Black murder should not be ruled out.

“The stupid and wrong decision on the ‘flag’ issue spilling out from Belfast City Hall has the potential to cause further problems across Northern Ireland. It is not however, only internal Unionist disputes that may pose problems,” he said.

The East Derry MP pointed to a statement by fringe republican group Republican Sinn Féin to support his claim. “Internal Nationalist/ Republican tensions also have potential for creating difficulties, given the recent Republican Sinn Fein publication which contained the reference; The final surrender of the Provisionals was yet again witnessed when British Crown Minister McGuinness shook hands with the Queen of England. In so doing he not only insulted all those republican soldiers who died on his orders but he danced on their graves and disgraced their sacrifice.

“The man who swore to the IRA that he would lead them to the All Ireland Republic instead delivered his followers into the hands of the British’.”

“Given the sacrosanct way in which republicans have viewed their dead in the past this type of statement could be potentially very significant,” he said.

Mr Campbell also said the entire community must guard against an escalation of violence.

“Whatever importance can be attached to the various statements by a number of groups it is imperative that the wider community remain steadfast and vigilant in the face of determined efforts by some to radically undermine the potential for progress which the vast majority here want to see made.

 

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