Video: David Norris disturbed by Derry violence and glad not to be associated with 'shower' of bonfire builders in the North

Senator David Norris has railed against the unionist tradition of lighting 11th night bonfires while condemning the ongoing street violence in Derry this week.

The outspoken independent senator for the University of Dublin, Trinity College, who is perhaps best known for campaigning for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the South, said the scenes in and around the Bogside and Fountain area this week were "very disturbing".

David Norris.

David Norris.

Senator Norris referencing his own Anglicanism went on to express contempt for the loyalist custom of burning bonfires every July 11 to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne.

"The attacks from the Bogside on the Fountain area, which is a small Protestant enclave, are very disturbing," he said.

"They show how dangerous it is to allow any opportunity for dissident republicans to take up this thing. In fact, it shows how volatile the situation would be if there were any attempt to institute a Border again in this country.

"With regard to setting a spark, incendiary activities and all the rest of it, these bonfires that the so-called Protestants set up are appalling. I am glad that I am a member of the Church of Ireland, which is the reformed Catholic Church in this country and which is not associated with this shower up in the North of Ireland. These monumental, enormous, vast skyscrapers are partly triumphalism and partly these people marking out their territory.

"They seem to be very threatened, but I would say to them that the only way forward is by sharing. That is the only way they will get anywhere, not contesting, not being territorial, not attacking one's neighbours but trying to share what is good in the country," he added.

The violence was also lamented by Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly, who stated: "The issue of disturbances in Derry and attempts by Catholic and Protestant church leaders to ensure the marching season and July 12 pass by peacefully have again come to the fore.

"Youths have been arrested, shots fired at security forces and there has been a return to inter-communal strife between residents of the Bogside and Fountain areas of Derry."