IRSP Condemn the Reckless Actions of the PSNI in the New Lodge

The IRSP condemn in the strongest possible terms the reckless actions of the PSNI in the New Lodge today. 

At around 8am this morning, a heavily armed column of PSNI landrovers and personnel descended into the New Lodge in an attempt to remove the ‘Anti-Internment’ bonfire by force. In an area that already has heightened tensions, such an act was sure to stir up serious trouble.

Last year the IRSP through close dialogue and engagement with the bonfire builders and other community organisations, successfully managed to provide an alternative and for the first time in years there was no ‘Anti-Internment Bonfire’ in the New Lodge. This sort of positive engagement with the youth is the only way that this issue can be resolved.

Local Media Coverage of Last Years Bonfire Success

The violent acts witnessed today by the PSNI has effectively destroyed any of the positive work over the last year that has went into building a positive relationship in constructing a long term alternative to this issue. 

We also note with disgust, the sizeable mainstream media contingent that arrived on scene to report on negative scenes that will only criminalise the local youth. We ask the question, where were the mainstream media last year when the young people took the unprecedented decision not to build the bonfire?

The IRSP fully understand the concerns of the local residents and our objective is to facilitate a long term viable alternative to the New Lodge Bonfire, but this can only be achieved with the active participation of the local youth. 

IRSP activists will remain in the area throughout the evening and the early hours to ensure the violent scenes witnessed earlier are avoided.