Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Scourge of racism must be effectively addressed - Mary Lou McDonald

10 November, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald today issued a statement urging people to stand with ethnic minority communities and against the scourge of racism. The Sinn Féin MEP said ŒSinn Féin is committed to tackling all forms of racism and building an inclusive and multicultural Ireland‚.

Ms McDonald was speaking after racist attacks in Belfast and Co Armagh yesterday, and follows the publication of a report which shows that the last six months have seen the single largest number of racist attacks since records were kept in 2001.

Speaking from Brussels Ms McDonald said:

"The recent report by the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI), has clearly shown that within the past six months there has been a worrying upsurge in the reported incidents of racist attacks in Ireland. These statistics are borne out by the attacks on our streets. Only yesterday there were two reported racist attacks in both Belfast and Lurgan.

"We are witnessing a consistently high level of violence against some of the most vulnerable groups within Irish society. Let us be clear - the racists must be faced down. Recent attacks are only the tip of the iceberg, as many incidents are not reported. Racist attacks are now happening at such an alarming rate that sections of society are becoming blasé to the plight of ethnic minority communities.

"Condemning racist attacks is not enough. We need to actively work for the removal of racism from our society. This requires action as much as words. It requires adequate resourcing and support for ethnic minority communities and their support groups. And it requires meaningful partnerships between all sections of society.

"Sinn Féin is committed to tackling all forms of racism and building a multicultural Ireland. We must stand with ethnic communities throughout Ireland in solidarity with them and against the narrow-minded racists." ENDS

Note to Editor

Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast, Gerry Kelly, will be speaking tonight at a rally to address the racist attacks on homes in North Belfast. The rally follows a number of homes of ethnic minorities having sectarian graffiti daubed on their walls and cars and will give the local community a chance to show their support for the victims of these attacks.

Other speakers will include a member of the North Belfast Anti Racism Network and a member of the Filipino community.

The rally will take place at 7:30pm on Wednesday the 10th of November at the Fortwilliam Shops on the Antrim Road.

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