I am very disappointed in relation to this afternoons events at the all party talks. The UUP and DUP are to withdraw from the Talks on the future of flags, parading and the Past in reaction to the Parades Commission refusal to allow the 12th July march to pass the Ardoyne shop fronts.
The SDLP see this as a time where good leadership is essential and this is what the SDLP were trying to provide in the room.
There is now a desperate need for people to keep calm and provide leadership in our communities. Being difficult and being angry is not going to help anyone.
The SDLP wants to make sure that the next two weeks pass off peacefully in a way that does not damage our city or our people.
All of the parties need to get back in the room and talk it out; this is the only way of making progress. We were making some progress and the SDLP are convinced that there are potential solutions to all issues on the table. One specific parade or one specific issue should not be allowed to derail the entire process that has the potential to resolve the outstanding challenges we face.
This is a time for calm heads. If we have learned anything in 40 years it is that you can make all the threats you like, you can destabilise what you like but at the end of the day you have to come back to the institutions. We need the institutions to hold our community together
The public are way ahead of some of the politicians. They want to see the talks make progress and move into prosperity – that is what the public are looking for from us as politicians and our institutions.”