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Maskey commends McAleese engagement with working class loyalists

11 February, 2004

Commenting on the visit today by Irish President Mary McAleese to loyalist areas in Belfast Sinn Féin South Belfast Assembly member Alex Maskey said that the visit was 'further evidence that working class loyalist areas were ahead of their political leaders when it came to the issue of dialogue'.

Mr Maskey said:

"In recent times both President McAleese and her husband Martin have done very important work in engaging with working class loyalists in Belfast. Today's visit is another example of this.

"In many ways this work is further evidence of the fact that people living in working class unionist areas are well ahead of the political leadership of unionism when it comes to reaching out and engaging in constructive dialogue.

"Unionist political leaders and particularly those within the DUP should reflect upon today's visit by the Irish President to East Belfast and recognise that dialogue is crucial to building a shared future on this island.

"They need to follow the example set by their own community and sit down and engage constructively with the political representatives of the nationalist and republican community. They need to enter into dialogue with Sinn Féin." ENDS

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