Tuesday 26 September 2017

Higgins: Return of Belfast violence brings 'great sadness'

President Michael D Higgins
President Michael D Higgins

Shane Hickey in London

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has described the "great sadness" he felt when he saw violence on the streets of Belfast at the weekend.

Speaking in London during a visit to an Irish centre there, he said that the problems which were created from historical divisions had not gone away.

"It is with great sadness that I have seen recent events on the streets of Belfast which show how the toxins of a divisive past have not entirely abated and they threaten much of what has been achieved," the president told an audience in the Haringey Irish Community and Cultural Centre.

President Higgins flew into London last night for a brief visit to the UK capital.  He will be accepting an honorary doctorate from Middlesex University later today.

Addressing an audience of Irish ex-pats as well as members of the Montserrat community in London, who operate events from the same centre, the president said he was reminded to stay positive about the amount of work which has been done in Northern Ireland.

"And so much has practically been achieved in tasks of reconciliation but of all else, wherever it occurs, of eliminating all forms of sectarianism which is required to be outrightly and unconditionally condemned," he said.

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