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Lack of leadership in political unionism an obstacle to tackling sectarianism – Kearney

10 November, 2017 - by Declan Kearney

Writing in his latest article for An Phoblacht, Sinn Féin National Chairperson, Declan Kearney, has pointed to the lack of leadership within political unionism as an obstacle to tackling sectarianism.

The South Antrim MLA has said:

"A step change is urgently needed to encourage a new popular, sustained momentum against sectarianism. 

"That will require united political and civic leadership.

“Sinn Féin has tabled anti-sectarianism proposals within every forum. We want anti-sectarianism to be ingrained within our shared political and civic institutions.

“Significant figures within political unionism have opposed that approach.

“Consistent with that failure in leadership, when Sinn Féin councillors on Fermanagh & Omagh District Council this week tabled a motion on anti-sectarianism the unionist councillors from the UUP and DUP voted against it. Nevertheless this motion was passed despite the opposition of the unionist parties.

“Anti-sectarianism is not a zero-sum concept to be negotiated on a win/lose basis.

“Our starting point should be the Good Friday Agreement, which sets out explicitly the rights of all citizens to freely choose their place of residence, and to live free from sectarian harassment.

“Anti-sectarianism should be at the heart of a rights-based society. It should be embraced as a quality of life issue for us all.

“For too long sectarianism has been this society’s ‘Elephant in the room’ – to be evaded and avoided, and never tackled head on.

“As a contribution to changing that, Sinn Féin has launched a ‘Stand up against Sectarianism’ campaign.

“Anti-sectarianism should be common ground for building bridges, and integrating society.

“Doing nothing means the prospect of a shared, reconciled future is compromised on the rock of recycled sectarian divisions.

“It’s time we pushed the elephant out of the room, and it’s time for us all to stand up against sectarianism." ENDS/CRÍOCH

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