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Anger at introduction of Anti-social Behavioural Orders

25 August, 2004

Sinn Féin Fein Human Rights and Equality Spokesperson, South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane has accused British direct rule Minster John Spellar of 'pig-headed arrogance' after he announced that the controversial ASBOs had come in legal effect from today.

Ms Ruane said:

"The behaviour of John Spellar throughout the debate on the imposition of these controversial ASBOs has been characterised by dishonesty. The decision to force through this legislation against widespread concerns demonstrates a pig headed arrogance.

"Sinn Fein share widespread concerns that ASBOs undermine children's rights as well as undermining key human rights and equality protections and legislative initiatives that flow the Good Friday Agreement and the UN convention on the rights of the Child.

"The legislation fails to recognise the 'particular circumstances' of the north. The Commission for Children, children's rights organisations and advocates of children's rights are all concerned that insufficient consideration has been given to the implications of the introduction of this legislation.

"Everyone agrees that anti-social behaviour is a problem. It is a problem that direct rule ministers are failing to adequately address. ASBOs are not the way to solve the problem. Evidence from England shows that ASBOs failed there just as they will fail here unless the wider issue of anti-social behaviour addressed. This requires significant resources being available for the provision of services for young people.

"Sinn Fein is concerned that given the ongoing negative experience of nationalists and nationalist youth in particular that greater powers given to PSNI and district councils will be abused. We all know the problems of the PSNI sectarian agenda and the reality that district councils had powers and responsibilities removed because of discriminatory practices. Not only are there huge concerns about the ability of councils to operate in a non sectarian manner but a genuine fear that this legislation will be used against young nationalists." ENDS

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