Northern Ireland

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:40 pm on 16th July 2013.

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Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 12:40 pm, 16th July 2013

I reiterate my sympathies to the right hon. Member for Belfast North, who was doing such brave work to try to look after his constituents and found himself the victim of unacceptable violence. Of course I agree with Mr Donaldson that the rule of law should be applied impartially, and I am absolutely convinced that the PSNI does that. I note his comments on what he perceives as the handling of the Short Strand area. Again, I hope I can provide reassurance that proportionality and fairness is at the heart of everything the PSNI does, whether in Short Strand or elsewhere. I note his comments on the Parades Commission. As I said, I understand the concerns about its decision, and I know that the debate continues on the future of the Parades Commission. I think the way forward to resolve these problems is through local dialogue, but channelling efforts, enthusiasm and energy into looking at options for future reform through the Richard Haass working group is also an important way forward. I also agree that in a shared future we need shared space. We need to find a way to ensure that different traditions can be celebrated in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.