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Concern at racist violence in Portadown

27 February, 2008

Sinn Féin Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd has called on community leaders in Portadown to confront attitudes that are giving rise to an increase in attacks on foreign nationals living in the town.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"While everyone will totally condemn these attacks on foreign nationals living not just in Portadown but anywhere in Ireland, we also need to do much more.

"I welcome the commitment from the PSNI to take action but this also needs to result in arrests and the people responsible being brought before the courts. However, we also need to see much more from local community leaders in confronting and challenging the attitudes that give rise to such attacks.

"The reality is that these attacks are forcing people from Poland, Latvia, Portugal and other countries to think about moving from specific parts of the town.

"I am also concern that some are engaging in these attacks in their mistaken belief that people from countries such as Poland, Latvia and Portugal are all Catholic. So I would be concerned that we are dealing with not just racism but also the under current of sectarianism that exists in some parts of the town." ENDS

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