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Racism at Derry City Airport

11 January, 2006

Sinn Féin Derry City Councillor Gerry MacLochlainn has said that the racist bigotry suffered by a woman travelling through Derry City airport was totally unacceptable.

Councillor MacLochlainn, a member of the Derry City Council Airport Committee stated,

"This woman was stopped and questioned by British Immigration Officials simply because she was of African origin. She was held so long that she missed her flight to London.

"The woman in question is an United Nations barrister who is a frequent traveller and her experiences in Derry exposes the racism that pertains throughout the British Immigration Service.

"The fact that Derry City Council runs the airport there is an onus on the Council to ensure that every person who travels through it is treated with the utmost respect and courtesy. I will be raising the matter today at Council and asking that a letter outlining our concerns is sent to the British Immigration Service.

"The council needs assurances that this matter will be properly investigated and that if members acted in a manner that was inappropriate then action will be taken and that guidelines are introduced so that it does not happen again.

"I am also concerned that the immigration service questioned this barrister about her movements to various countries and where she went during her stay in the North West. With the history of British Governments involvement in the assassination of Human Rights Lawyers in the North it is an obvious concern that this lawyer was questioned about events that did not relate to any immigration matters." ENDS

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