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Ethnic cleansing by unionists in Ahoghill

16 August, 2005

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Antrim Philip McGuigan has accused unionist paramilitaries of trying to 'ethnically cleanse' Catholics and nationalists from Ahoghill. Mr McGuigan's comments come after the latest attack on a catholic home in the village last night.

Mr McGuigan said: "Over recent weeks and months the small catholic population in Ahoghill has come under a sustained and violent unionist paramilitary campaign. It is motivated by a desire to ethnically cleanse Catholics and nationalists from the village.

"It comes against a backdrop in North Antrim generally and the Ballymena area in particular of DUP politicians creating an atmosphere where Catholics and nationalists are seen as second class. The MP for the area Ian Paisley has been silent as catholic homes, churches and businesses in his constituency have been bombed and destroyed.

"No other MP would get away with such a response. I am once again challenging the DUP to tackle this issue. Have they raised it with the unionist paramilitary leaders on the various forums and commissions which they jointly sit on? If not why not?

"It is time for the DUP to bring to an end the discrimination and domination which has created the atmosphere into which this violence has fed. If we are to rebuild the political process the DUP now have to prove to nationalists that they are capable of treating people with respect and equality."

Sinn Féin Councillor for the area Monica Digney who has in recent days met with catholic residents in Ahoghill said that the situation in the village cannot be allowed to go on.

Cllr. Digney said:

"It is not acceptable for this situation in Ahoghill to be allowed to continue. Catholic people in Ahoghill cannot be expected to live under this type of intimidation and terror.

"Handing out fire blankets does not resolve this problem. The unionist community ending this violent campaign does.

"Sinn Féin will be raising the issue of this campaign with the Irish government in the coming days and we will be impressing upon them their obligations towards Irish citizens enduring these attacks." ENDS

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