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Sectarianism must be faced down – Kearney

9 October, 2017 - by Declan Kearney

For immediate release

9 October 2017

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and South Antrim MLA, Declan Kearney, has called for a campaign to be launched to face down sectarianism in Irish society.

Writing in his latest blog for Mr Kearney said:

"In scenes reminiscent of the pogroms and expulsions of Catholic families from their homes in East Belfast during the 1970s, four Catholic families were forced from their homes in Cantrell Close by the UVF the week before last.

 That reality should be our history rather than our present.

The collective condemnation of this incident by all main parties was a very positive demonstration of united leadership.

That now must be built upon.

The reality is that this sectarian intimidation against the families at Cantrell Close is not happening in isolation.

The sectarianism, which perpetrates such actions is endemic in our society. It is a blight on the societal and political landscapes of the North of Ireland.

Sectarianism is the antithesis of Irish Republicanism.

Sinn Féin is fully committed to tackling and eradicating sectarianism from Irish society, regardless of the source.

Our Party unequivocally supports the principle of the Good Friday Agreement, which promised to citizens “The right to live free from sectarian harassment”.

In practice that should include

·         The right to employment free from sectarian discrimination, intimidation or attack.

·         The right to housing and to live in your home free from sectarian attack, intimidation or other discrimination.

·         The right to free association, recreation and to socialise at places of choice free from sectarian attack, intimidation or other discrimination.

·         The right to practice religious faith and worship free from sectarian attack, intimidation or other discrimination.

·         The duty to report or challenge sectarian speech, attack, intimidation or other discrimination when witnessed or heard.

Public representatives and political leaders must set the example and desist from language or actions, which offend against the identity of anyone in this society. That is why the collective condemnation by parties of the Cantrell Close threats is so important.

Sinn Féin believes anti-sectarianism measures and initiatives must be embraced by the institutions and mechanisms of government at both Executive and local authority levels.

Political, civil, church, and community leaders need to speak out with one voice against sectarianism, just as they have rightly done so in the past against racism.

We need a popular community campaign to eradicate sectarianism in all its forms, and to isolate and fearlessly shun those extremists who continue to fuel and feed off sectarian hatred.

It is time for us all to Stand Up Against Sectarianism #SUAS

It is time for a #SUAS campaign." 

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