Northern Ireland news

Carl Frampton calls for both sides of Northern Ireland's sectarian divide to `make traditions more inclusive'

Carl Frampton was preparing for his Windsor Park fight. Picture by Mark Robinson

BOXING hero Carl Frampton has called for both sides of Northern Ireland's sectarian divide to "make their traditions more inclusive".

Raised in the loyalist Tigers Bay area of north Belfast and married to Christine, who is from nationalist west Belfast, the fighter has used a new documentary film to urge mutual respect across the city.

One of the scenes from `Frampton: Return of The Jackal', broadcast on BBC One last night, shows the couple with their children Carla and Rossa in `the field' on the Twelfth of July.

Deluged with requests for photographs, while he is posing with some bandsman someone walks past and shouts support for "the UFF".

"Enough of that sh**e, your man shouting that stuff," Frampton says as he returns to his family, gathering their things.

"Come on we'll go back to everyone."

The boxer recalled watching riots that were"like Braveheart" between Catholics and Protestants at the nearby interface when he was a child, and watching the Orange Order marching on the Twelfth.

"I used to stand in Royal Avenue with my dad an my uncles and stuff and a lot of the family and we used to just watch the bands going past," he said.

"It's good, I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it when I was a kid and I always have."

Framption suggested that more could be done to open up such occasions beyond the usual attendees.

"There should be some things done to make these things, I'm talking about both sides here, to make the traditions more inclusive maybe - which is going to be very, very difficult, but I think it's important... that both sides of the community to respect the other side and their traditions and their beliefs and live together.

Now living in rural Co Antrim, he admitted his children will grow up "more middle class" than he and his wife had.

The documentary was filmed ahead of his iconic Windsor Park fight in August and contained footage from Belfast during what can be a contentious marching season.

"Sometimes there's spontaneous riots break out (around Eleventh night bonfires), but it's few and far between these days, not a lot of it going on compared to when I was a kid, even," Frampton said.

"I'm not saying there shouldn't be bonfires, but I think it gets to a point, where figures are being burned and posters of people and tricolours, and everything else, I think in this day and age the need to come away from that.

"It doesn't do the Protestant community any good and I think it's something they all need to look at."

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