11 Dec 2012

Speaking after the attempted murder of a PSNI officer and the ongoing disruption on our streets, Peter Bunting, Assistant General Secretary of the ICTU said:
"The NIC-ICTU condemns the attempted murder of a police officer last night, as she protected the office of an MP who is, in turn, under threat.

"The trade unions further call for a complete halt to all protests, pickets, and violent and verbal attacks related to the issues of flags, on any building in Northern Ireland.

"We also call on the elected representatives in the NI Assembly and local government to suspend motions calling for the raising or lowering of flags with immediate effect.

"At last, the leader of one of the main unionist parties has called for the end of street protests related to flags, but others still repeat that protests are all right as long as they are 'peaceful', 'dignified' and 'good-humoured'.

"The trade union movement has years of experience of bringing people onto the streets to protest against violence from all perpetrators, and for equality and justice, but there are rules that we follow. The first rule is the priority of the safety of all who participate and who witness the protest - No one gets hurt. That means dealing with the civic authorities well in advance and ensuring that the protest is well-stewarded by competent people who are clearly identifiable. We always co-operate in advance with the PSNI, Road Service, Translink, local government and anyone else who may be affected, to ensure that the first rule is obeyed, and everyone goes home safely.

"Calling for others to take to the streets and then walking away from the consequences is the act of a coward.

"In the past week, we have seen attacks on public buildings, on the homes and offices of public representatives and on the police. There has been an escalation in sectarian attacks. An MP is living in fear for her life. Sinister men are working in the background and an identifiable fascist is cheered at the gates of Belfast City Hall.

"This is not a 'crisis' of Irishness, Britishness or cloth. This is a crisis of our democracy and our society's willingness to listen to facts and not self-serving myths about identity."