Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rory McIlroy Says Northern Ireland Deserves Peace

Rory McIlroy, the 2011 winner of the US Open Golf Tournament, is saddened by the recent violence in East Belfast, not far from his home in Holywood, Northern Ireland.

On June 21 and 22, loyalists and republicans battled in the Lower Newtownards Road and Short Strand areas. The police became involved when they came between the two sides. Rocks were thrown. Sledge hammers were taken to police vehicles. Molotov cocktails were hurled. At least three shots were fired and Niall Carson, a Press Association photographer, was wounded on June 22 in the leg by one shot. His condition was reported as stable.

A 20-year-old woman was arrested on a weapons charge. Two people were injured by gunfire the prior night.

The violence became so pitched water cannons were used to disperse the crowds.

Rory McIlroy commented, ""It's sad to see what's happened the last couple of nights. I know that 99.9% of the population don't want to see that.

And if I can just be a little bit of positivity in the news then that's great.

I think everyone just wants to live in peaceful times, and I think Northern Ireland deserves it."

The government is responding with an action plan that will likely involve an interfaith task force. Specifically, Peter Robinson, First Miniser of Northern Ireland and and his Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have instructed a government official to interact with community leaders in the Newtownards Road and Short Strand areas of Belfast.

In a joint statement Robinson and McGuinness said, “We would ask everyone to give the official the time and space to conduct this work.

The official has been asked to bring back a report promptly and make recommendations as to how problems in the area can be addressed. By working with local communities and agencies, we want to ensure that interface issues are tackled across Belfast.”

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