Arlene Foster’s comments come after a week of violence in which over 40 officers were injured
First Minister Arlene Foster has condemned the « vicious » and « criminal » elements behind the recent civil unrest and violence in Northern Ireland.
Her comments come after reports from paramilitary organizations highlighted some of the violence, which took place last week.
In some cases, children as young as 12 have been reported to be involved in the disturbances, which injured over 40 police officers, with one officer seriously injured to the leg .
In the past week there have been scenes of violence in Derry, Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey, Ballymena and Belfast.
On the violence in Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey, both UDA strongholds of South East Antrim, Ms. Foster said: » I absolutely accept that this is the case in a certain area of Northern Ireland, but the UDA of South East Antrim does not have rite parts of Northern Ireland in others, so there are all of Northern Ireland land concerns. “
Ms. Foster also reiterated her stance on calling for the resignation of the PSNI’s Chief Constable, Simon Byrne, over his handling of the funeral at the Bobby Storey last summer.
She doubled her view that he should resign , and said the chief constable must « take responsibility for the actions his senior command team took » regarding the Republican funeral attended by senior Sinn Fein members.
She also said she believes that « the confidence has gone in his leadership and I think that the confidence has gone in the senior management team ».
It has been found that the UK Police Department, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, is conducting a review of the Treatment of the funeral will be initiated by the PSNI.
Ms. Foster insisted that she continue to support the police, saying « the police have my full support ».
You fü added: « There is no difficulty in assisting the police, we support the rule of law. It is actually because we support the rule of law that we are so perplexed by the PPS’s decision not to prosecute those who have clearly broken the law at the Bobby Storey funeral. «
She also said she was ready to deal with disaffected loyalists and said she will » always speak to people to try to bring them with me and to change them constitutionally, and I will continue to deal with loyalist communities, there is a great need to “get involved with loyalist and unionist communities, and I will not stray from it as a leader of unionism.”
Ms. Foster is currently not with that because of the recent violence Chief Constable and was criticized in this decision by the Ulster Union politician Doug Beattie, who said he believed the First Minister was « wrong on this particular case ».
John O’Dowd of Sinn Fein also said that it was « helpful » for the First Minister to meet with the Chief of Police.
In the meantime, the Northern Ireland Assembly has been called back to meet tomorrow and questions related to mi t discuss the recent violence.
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