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Action needed on Hate Attacks

27 October, 2004

Commenting on the release of figures on racist attacks in Belfast over the past six months Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey said that 'we need to see more action on the issue and less talking'.

Mr Maskey said:

"These statistics showing on average five racist attacks each week and a majority taking place in South Belfast only prove what we all already know that racism in the city is now an urgent and very real problem.

"However what many people and particularly those from the ethnic minority communities would like to see is less taking and more action. The attitude of the PSNI to the rise in racist attacks has been rightly criticised with clear up rates being virtually nil.

"We also need to see action from political leaders and particularly unionist political leaders. Their response to date has been at best apathy and in some cases we have had to witness unionist elected representatives providing political cover for those engaged in these attacks. The most notable example of this has been the DUP Councillor Ruth Patterson who has in recent months defended both racist and sectarian attacks in Donegal Pass and Sandy Row. As a first step towards ending hate attacks this sort of approach has to be abandoned." ENDS

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