After night of riots Tourism Ireland calls on people to visit Carrickfergus
Tourism Ireland this morning issued a call for German tourists to visit Carrickfergus, mere hours after parts of the town were engulfed in disorder.
Tension has been building in the loyalist-dominated east Antrim town for weeks, with fresh graffiti attacking the NI Brexit Protocol (which has effectively placed a regulatory border in the Irish Sea between NI and GB).
Among the things daubed on walls was this stark message in Shaftesbury Park: PROTOCOL = WAR
After days of disorder in Belfast, spilling north into the Fernagh / Rathcoole / Cloughfern area of Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus last night succumbed to violence.
A tweet from the German-language account of Tourism Ireland carried a picture of the town’s historic seaside castle, and said (translated from German): “A real Irish mighty castle! It’s been there since the 12th century - Carrickfergus Castle in County Antrim.”
The PSNI said the disorder last night in both Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus had left officers injured.
The latest disorder started at around 9pm on Sunday in the vicinity of the Cloughfern roundabout, where police said an estimated 20 to 30 masked individuals set bins on fire. When officers moved in to the area, four petrol bombs were thrown at them leaving one officer with a leg injury.
The PSNI added that about an hour later, in the North Road area of Carrickfergus, a crowd of up to 50 people gathered and 20 petrol bombs were pelted at police along with masonry.
Four officers were injured after they were all struck by masonry and sustained leg, foot and neck injuries.
Chief Superintendent Davy Beck said he was “urging those with influence in the community to do what they can to prevent any further disorder”.
He said: “There is absolutely no justification for the shameful scenes we have witnessed on our streets. This orchestrated violence is senseless and reckless.
“The disorder last night left five of our officers injured, officers who were on duty protecting life and property, and our thoughts are with them as they recover. A number of our vehicles were also damaged last night and that damage is being assessed today.
“In a time when we are asking everyone to pull together in a health crisis, the people orchestrating this violence and those carrying it out are working against their own community.
“To those who are involved in orchestrating this violence, and to those who are involved in it, stop. It is causing nothing but harm and distress to the local community.
“To those in our community with influence, I would urge you to use that influence so we do not see any further disgraceful scenes of violence on our streets so we can ensure young people do not get caught up in criminality and that they are kept safe and away from harm.
“The community, who we know just wants to live in peace, can be reassured that their Police Service has additional resources available to respond to incidents and we will continue to work to keep people safe.
“We will continue to work with our partner agencies, community and elected representatives and the people to ensure everyone can all live in a peaceful society.”
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