US Congressman calls on Johnson and NI leaders to 'condemn violence'

US Congressman calls on Johnson and NI leaders to 'condemn violence'

Vivienne Clarke

US Congressman Brendan Boyle has said it was vital for all leaders in Northern Ireland to speak out and condemn the violence on the streets of the past week.

There should be no ‘whataboutism” he said, they should all “make crystal clear that this is unacceptable”.

Mr Boyle, who is a member of the Friend of Ireland group in Congress, told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that it was time for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “stand up and speak out that this is wrong”.

It would have been nice to see more of a response from London and the UK government, he added. “They have responsibility for Northern Ireland ultimately.”

UK media coverage

It was “not that surprising” that there had been no coverage in the UK media about the violence of the past week.

Mr Boyle said that violence would solve “absolutely nothing” and Northern Ireland had 30 years experience of that.

He had been in Northern Ireland at the time of the murder of journalist Lyra McKee and had seen how that “tragic event brought people together.” The Congressman said he would like to see that sort of reaction again.

While he and his colleagues in the Friend of Ireland group would be meeting on Friday “to see if there’s anything we can do,” he said they realised their limitations. “This is something that will have to be settled within.”

During a previous visit to Derry he had seen deprived areas on both sides of the divide where there was a lack of economic opportunity. This could always lead to a greater chance of people taking to the streets as they felt they had less to lose if they resorted to violence, he said.

Any investment in Northern Ireland will pay dividends worth more than dollars, euro or pounds, he added.

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