Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Would Whiterock Parade do anything to tackle Poverty?

15 September, 2005

Sinn Féin General Secretary Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has asked unionist and Orange leaders if their demand to force an Orange Order Parade through a Nationalist area would do anything to tackle the poverty which exists in both North and West Belfast.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"Orange and Unionist leaders are unwilling to take responsibility for the violence of recent days. They cannot even decide whether the frustration they describe is because a sectarian march didn't go through a nationalist area or because of poverty and educational underachievement.

"Whatever excuses they put forward the fact is that their bad leadership and the failure to engage in the political process is hurting everyone.

"The leaderships of unionism, represented by the DUP and the UUP, claim that their communities have no voice. Is this not their responsibility? Is this not the result of their failure, as politicians, to provide that voice - their failure to show positive leadership and their failure to engage on behalf of those they represent.

"Poverty is a huge issue that affects both communities. The truth is that Direct rule ministers have been let off the hook because political parties have not worked together to put them under pressure to ensure that tackling poverty is a priority.

"Sinn Féin genuinely want to tackle deprivation, poverty and disadvantage no matter where it occurs and unionists will find a ready ally in Sinn Féin in bringing forward effective solutions and demanding action from the British and Irish governments.

"Unionists whether in the DUP, the UUP or the Orange Order should sit down and talk with Sinn Féin, their fellow citizens. That is the best way to tackle the very real social and economic issues which affect all of us in this society." ENDS

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