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Mayor's response to racist attack criticised as "minimalist"

8 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Cllr John O'Dowd has described as "minimalist" the response by the DUP Mayor of Craigavon, David Simpson, to the racist petrol petrol-bombing of the Portadown home of a Portuguse woman and her two year old child on Saturday night.

Cllr O'Dowd said,

"This morning David Simpson appeared on BBC TV in his capacity as Mayor of Craigavon. When asked what the Council reponse to this latest attack would be, Cllr Simpson stated that the Council would be holding a multi-cultural event next year. Furthermore, his response also Implied that young people were probably behind this and other attacks. This minimalist response from the Mayor of Craigavon will give liitle comfort or succour to those members of the migrant worker community in Portadown who are being threatended and intimidated now.

"Many people are aware that the UVF is behind a whole series of racist attacks in Portadown which has forced people from their homes, and has also seen people assaulted and, in one case, stabbed and seriously injured. The reported cases of intimidation are only the tip of the iceberg of a sinister campaign by the UVF in and around Portadown which is centred around a protection racket organised by members of that organisation. David Simpson is ignoring this fact.

"This racist campaign needs to urgently confronted and stamped out. The Mayor of Craigavon should be taking the lead on this, not by talking about a multi-cultural event next year, but by calling the party leaders within Craigavon Council together immediately to organise a Council-sponsored anti-racist rally in Portadown immediately."ENDS

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