Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Tuesday, 21 June 2011 11:57 UK

Matter of the day

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey raised the recent disturbances in the Short Strand area of Belfast as a matter of the day, on 21 June 2011.

Two men were reportedly shot after sectarian rioting broke out between nationalist and loyalist crowds at an east Belfast interface area around 9pm on Monday evening.

One PSNI officer was taken to hospital with an eye injury.

Mr Maskey praised the work done by both sides of the community to improve community relations in the area over the years.

He added that he was concerned that the rioting may be presented as "six of one and half a dozen of the other".

"There was a UVF-related attack on that Short Strand community last night, all of those with any authority or influence understand that," he said.

DUP member for East Belfast Sammy Douglas said that the rioting had been the worst for many years and that both communities in the interface area had suffered.

He added that the rioting was the culmination of underlying tensions which had been growing in the area for several weeks.

The UUP's Michael Copeland said that the rioting had left "one community with two sections broken and hurt". He said he would be seeking a meeting with the Lord Mayor of Belfast Niall Ó Donnghaile.

Conall McDevitt of the SDLP said he had witnessed "an orchestrated and serious attempt to attack a community ... and a retaliation from within", and added that the PSNI response had been inadequate to stop the trouble from escalating.

The Alliance's Chris Lyttle asked those involved in the violence to stop. "The organised and orchestrated violence that we saw was unjustifiable." he said.


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