Belfast teenagers using Facebook to plan riots that have injured more than 60 police officers over three nights

 

Teenagers charged with involvement in recent sectarian rioting in Belfast have been keeping in touch through Facebook, a court in the city was told today.

The revelation came as political leaders held emergency meetings in an attempt to defuse tensions which have led to injuries to more than 60 police officers in three nights of rioting in the north of the city.

Police have said they have no direct evidence of the involvement of loyalist paramilitary groups in disturbances, although they knew members of such organisations had been involved in rioting.

Unionist first minister Peter Robinson and deputy first minister Martin McGuinness are leading attempts to find compromise arrangements in advance of a major loyalist parade to be held in the area on September 29th.

A Belfast youth court today heard that teenagers had arranged to take part in disturbances through Facebook. A lawyer for a 15-year-old charged with riotous assembly said he had used the social networking site to learn that rioting was due to take place at Carlisle Circus, the focal point of disturbances.

The lawyer said: “These things go on Facebook, they all talk to each other, they get excited and they end up down at a place they definitely shouldn't be.”

Police opposed bail for two teenagers on the grounds that the ongoing disorder was putting at risk the lives of officers, the public and the rioters themselves.

But District Judge George Conner granted bail, banning the teenagers from using social networking media and ordering them not to go within 500 metres of Carlisle Circus.

He told them: “Tempted as we are to make an example of you so that can go out on Facebook, we are going to give you a chance. If you receive a message from any of your friends or anybody you don't know saying there's rioting going on you ignore it.”

Efforts to calm the situation took place against a background of continuing strong condemnation of the disorder from senior Protestant church figures. A spokesman for the Methodist church was unusually critical of Mr Robinson, saying it was unacceptable for him to have kept silent recently.

He added: “The people of Northern Ireland expect leadership from their government to help alleviate tensions and bring peace back to our streets,” adding that Mr Robinson had done little to instil community confidence.

Mr Robinson said tensions were very high but that his role “is to ensure that we don't add to those difficulties by things that are said and done.” He said if less was said “we might be in a much better position to try and resolve these issues,” and that difficulties would only be resolved on the basis of mutual respect.

Martin McGuinness described the recent violence as “deplorable, disgraceful and shameful.” Accusing the Orange Order of a lack of leadership, he added: “This is a time for leadership, a time for people to stand together against violence.”

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
News
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
boksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor