Sinn Féin - On Your Side

No going back to the days of unionist misrule

15 March, 2004

Sinn Féin's North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan has said that whatever happens in terms of the current political process there can be no return to the dark days of unionist misrule and systematic discrimination against nationalists.

Cllr McGuigan said:

"There can never be a return to the dark days of unionist majority misrule here in the north. We have had that experiment for 50 years and it failed miserably. No one should need reminded of the experience of discrimination, gerrymandering and exclusion that occurred across the north.

"Unfortunately some of these practices are continuing today in Unionist controlled councils. The fight for equality is nowhere near over.

"If we ever needed an example of why nationalists should not accept any attempts to renegotiate the Good Friday Agreement and the safeguards contained within it then we need look no further than local councils in areas like Ballymena, Ballymoney, Lisburn, Castlereagh and others controlled by Unionists.

"In these places Unionists continue to diminish the mandate given to Sinn Féin and the nationalist electorate. They continue to harbour policies that treat Nationalists and Republicans as second-class citizens.

"It has to be said, unfortunately that in some places they do so with the passive compliance of the SDLP.

"The DUP in particular long to bring the north back to 1969. They control some local councils like mini dictatorship led states. They hold the main positions within councils with an iron grip and change the rules to suit themselves. They fear equality. That is why they react as they do in

relation to the current political process and the Good Friday Agreement.

"The safeguards contained within the Good Friday Agreement were agreed and endorsed by the vast majority of people in Ireland to ensure that parties would attain position in relation to their mandate. Instead of attempts to diminish the power-sharing nature of the Assembly we should be attempting to ensure that these good practices, such as D'Hondt, contained within the Agreement are rolled out into local councils." ENDS

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