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Unionist leaders accused of fanning flames of sectarian violence

9 September, 2005

Sinn Féin MLA, Mitchell McLaughlin said that unionist leaders are blatantly using the threat of violence to try and secure a decision in favour of the Orange Order in relation to the contentious march through the nationalist Springfield Road area.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"Throughout the summer there have been sustained sectarian loyalist attacks on nationalists. Unionist leaders, including Ian Paisley and Reg Empey, have been muted in their response to this and have failed to use their considerable influence to bring this campaign of sectarian violence to an end.

"However, the latest statement from Ian Paisley on the Whiterock parade is a clear attempt to use the threat of loyalist violence to secure a decision in favour of the Orange Order.

"Not only have unionist leaders failed to show leadership in tackling sectarian attacks but they are now fanning the flames of sectarian violence with irresponsible and dangerous comments.

"The way to resolve contentious parades is through dialogue and agreement. Sectarian violence and the threats of violence from unionist politicians must be resisted." ENDS

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