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Unionist leaders need to accept responsibility to use influence to end sectarian attacks on Catholics

2 March, 2004

Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Bairbre de Brún has welcomed the focus on paramilitarism in today‚s review talks and added that Sinn Fein will raise the campaign of sectarian attacks on Catholics across the north.

Speaking ahead of meeting British and Irish government Ministers in Stormont today Ms de Brún said:

"Sinn Féin welcome the focus on paramilitarism in the review this week. Sinn Féin will raise the ongoing campaign of sectarian and racist attacks being orchestrated by Unionist paramilitaries across the North, particularly in areas like Ballymena, South and North Belfast, South Antrim and Lisburn.

"This focus of today‚s meeting results from allegations of IRA activity. There was, however, no similar focus when a young catholic, James McMahon, was killed in Lisburn, when loyalists, including Special Branch agents, kill within their own communities or when, on the same night, a 105-year-old women and a 4-month-old baby were targeted by Loyalists in separate attacks in North Belfast.

"Unionist leaders need to accept their responsibility to use their influence to bring an end to sectarian attacks on Catholics emanating from their community.

"The reality is that the IRA poses no threat to the peace process. The only threat comes from unionist rejectionists, Unionist paramilitaries and elements within the British security system who are uncomfortable with the peace process."ENDS

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