Step change needed within unionism to tackle sectarianism - Kearney
Sinn Féin National Chairperson and South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney has said a step change in attitudes within unionism is needed to tackle sectarianism.
Speaking at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Dublin, Declan Kearney said:
"The failure of political unionism to embrace the Good Friday Agreement has undermined the political process in the north.
"The push back from political unionism against democratic change goes to the core of the existing crisis.
"But sectarianism is not a one way street. It exists within nationalism. It sits at the crux of political and communal divisions in the north.
"Sinn Fein opposes sectarianism regardless of the source. Anti-sectarianism and reconciliation are central to our politics.
"The message from this Ard Fheis is that you cannot claim to be a republican in the United Irish and 1916 tradition, if you do not oppose all forms of sectarianism.
"I commend ‘One Community: tackling the scourge of sectarianism’ to this Ard Fheis as our party’s contribution to developing a new public discourse.
"A step change in attitudes and actions is required.
"Sinn Féin has proposed that robust anti-sectarianism measures be agreed during all recent negotiations. The DUP and others in political unionism are opposed to that approach.
"It is unacceptable that unionist politicians acquiesce in, or encourage sectarian mind-sets or behaviour.
"Sinn Féin wants sectarianism to be defined as hate crime in legislation. We believe all politicians and civic leaders must take the lead in its eradication.
"That is key to unlocking the way forward to a shared, reconciled society, and new phase of the peace process."