“Stay out of politics”

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Sinn Fein’s Junior Minister Gerry Kelly has hit back at the most senior police officer on duty in Belfast in the past two nights during the rioting. ACC Alistair Finlay challenged the First and deputy first ministers to say why they have not “stepped out” to jointly condemn the violence of past forty eight hours the cost of which Chief Constable Matt Baggott claims would build a hospital or a primary school.

Responding to Mr Finlay’s reference to Martin Mc Guinness and Peter Robinson the Sinn Fein Assembly member said in Ardoyne “to get a joint statement you need agreement and I agree the joint statements are of value. Martin Mc Guinness had been in touch with me a number of times yesterday and he knows how I think. He is in Derry and I am here. I agree with yourselves a joint statement would assist .

“Let me say this about ACC Finlay. In his own way he should stay out of politics. If he wants to talk to the First and deputy First ministers all he has to do is to lift the phone. I lifted the phone to him and spoke with him yesterday. I argued with him no matter how bad the situation appeared that they should not use plastic bullets that people could get killed.”

Dozens of plastic baton rounds were fired. The PSNI say over eighty officers sustained a range of injuries during the street violence.

[This article originally appeared on Slugger O’Toole]

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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.

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