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Nationalist residents welcome support from TDs and Senators

5 October, 2005

Sinn Féin leader in the Dáil, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD, described as constructive and reassuring the visit by nationalist residents from North Antrim to the Dáil today. The residents were in Dublin to raise with TDs and Senators the issue of continuing sectarian attacks against Catholics in the wider Ballymena area. However, Deputy Ó Caoláin, expressed disappointment that not all parties were represented at the engagement.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "Today's visit by a delegation of residents from North Antrim was both constructive and reassuring. The delegation were pleased with the opportunity to tell TDs and Senators from Fianna Fáil, the Greens and Independent members, including the Leader in the Seanad Mary O'Rourke, of the ongoing sectarian attacks they are suffering. They welcomed the comments of support and offers of assistance they received. The group also had a private meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern TD and a brief exchange with former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds.

"However, I must express my disappointment at the failure of other to make themselves available to meet with the residents. In the week when we saw the despicable protests at Carnmoney Cemetery in Ballymena, where loyalists threatened to dig up the graves of Catholics and urinate on them, it was expected that all-party interest in the visit would present.

"These people, some of whom were even afraid to appear before cameras for fear of further attack, travelled from North Antrim this morning to recount to elected representatives of the Dáil and Seanad their stories of sectarian harassment, intimidation and attacks at the hands of loyalists and to seek cross-party support and pressure to bring this despicable campaign to an end. I hope that that will yet materialise." ENDS

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