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Alban Maginness remarks on sectarian violence compared to Paul Leighton

24 August, 2005

North Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Kathy Stanton has accused the SDLP MLA Alban Maginness of being completely out of touch with interface communities. Ms Stanton's remarks came after Alban Maginness blamed anti-social activities and boredom for recent violence.

Ms Stanton said:

"Alban Maginness' claims that recent violence on interface areas and elsewhere is the result of boredom amongst children is contemptible. It is directly comparable to the disgraceful comments made by PSNI Chief Paul Leighton when he tried to gloss over sectarian attacks in Ahoghill.

"Mr Maginness of course completely ignores the fact that unionist paramilitaries are involved in much of this violence including gun and bomb attacks on Catholic homes in the Short Strand and an attack last night with an explosive device at Skegoneil. These attacks are not taking place by bored kids they are planned and orchestrated and designed to provoke the sort of low level stone throwing and sectarianism which we have witnessed in recent nights.

"Thankfully over recent nights community and political representatives on the ground have with some success sought to limit the potential for further trouble across Belfast. Such initiatives are based within the community and operated by people on all sides with a realistic approach that this conflict is driven by sectarianism , not boredom and acknowledging the reality that much of the serious violence is coming from unionist paramilitaries trying to divert the focus away from their ongoing feuding." ENDS

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