Essential that ‘rule of law’ is respected says Secretary of State

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.
Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has said today’s Parades Commission ruling and subsequent political developments “will provoke

strong feelings from many in Northern Ireland but it is essential that the rule of law is respected in any reaction to what has happened”.

Speaking after the Parades Commission determination stopping the Twelfth of July Orange parade returning past the Ardoyne shops, Ms Villiers said: “The last thing Northern Ireland needs is any kind of public disorder which could put police officers at risk of injury or worse and which would damage Northern Ireland’s reputation abroad and undermine efforts to attract jobs and investment.

“Any reaction or protest needs to be both peaceful and lawful, as called for by unionist leaders in their statement today.”

The Secretary of State said as the Parades Commission is the “lawfully constituted authority to make decisions on parades in Northern Ireland and their determinations have the full force of law”.

She added: “It is very disappointing that the DUP and the UUP do not currently feel that they can continue to take part in the party leader talks at Stormont.

“Ultimately, the only way to make lasting progress on resolving the contentious issues of flags, parading and the past has to be through renewed dialogue between Northern Ireland’s political leadership.

“The Government will continue to do all we can to encourage and early resumption of these talks.”