Unionists ‘shudder’ at scenes from the Junior Orange parade: UUP and DUP

A scene from the Junior Orange Association of Ireland annual Easter Tuesday demonstration in Carrickfergus Northern Ireland before two bands - including the South Belfast Young Conquerors - headed to Belfast's Ormeau Road for a closing parade.

A scene from the Junior Orange Association of Ireland annual Easter Tuesday demonstration in Carrickfergus Northern Ireland before two bands - including the South Belfast Young Conquerors - headed to Belfast's Ormeau Road for a closing parade.

The DUP and UUP issued a joint statement about the south Belfast fracas, stating that it sent a “deep shudder” down unionist spines.

The united message came following a Friday meeting between three city councillors and two top police officers.

The councillors were DUP man Christopher Stalford, and UUP figures Jeff Dudgeon and Graham Craig, and the officers in question were Chief Inspector Robert Murdie and Superintendent Darrin Jones.

The councillors said they had raised concerns that there are “contrasting approaches” taken by the police when it comes to enforcing the law in different situations; a complaint that has been heard throughout much of the week following paramilitary-style republican parades last weekend, and public disorder in republican-dominated Kilwikie district in Lurgan.

The statement read: “The events of recent days have sent a deep shudder of concern throughout the wider unionist community, not only in south Belfast but beyond. Serious questions must be answered...

“We made clear to the representatives of the PSNI that pro-active efforts will need to be made to restore confidence in policing to the highest levels: something that we all would like to see. The PSNI representatives acknowledged the need to focus efforts in restoring confidence.”

It said that the Police Ombudsman is the “appropriate avenue for the examination of recent events”.

Lastly, the statement added to the condemnation of those who had published the details on the internet of officers thought to have been present during the incident.

It concluded that while “police can sometimes get things wrong”, such a move merely “puts police officers and their families at risk and helps dissident republican murderers”.

One boy – whose father said he was still shaken from the events of that day – spoke in an interview about his experiences.

See the police statement on the event here.