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DUP cannot ignore responsibility for Ballymena conditions

8 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Antrim Philip McGuigan has said that unionist politicians in Ballymena and the areas MP Ian Paisley cannot ignore their responsibility for creating the conditions which gave rise to the sectarian attack on a young Catholic man in the town over the weekend. Mr McGuigan said that he would be contacting the Irish government to insist that they began to take some action to guarantee Irish citizens safety in the town.

Mr McGuigan said:

"This young man was brutally attacked by a unionist mob some of whom were armed with weapons. Our thoughts are obviously with the young man and his family at this time.

"Saturday nights attack is the latest in a long line of attacks on Catholics, their homes churches and schools in the wider Ballymena area.

"Unionist politicians and in particular the DUP who control the local council cannot ignore their responsibility for creating the conditions which have given rise to violent attacks upon Catholics in this area by unionist gangs.

"The DUP fail to engage in any power sharing on the Council. The local MP Ian Paisley went AWOL last summer at the height of the last anti-Catholic campaign which saw an attempt to ethnically cleanse a neighbouring village.

"The DUP failure to create conditions in Ballymena where the small Catholic community can live and work in peace does raise serious questions about the ability of the DUP to share power at any level with the representatives of the nationalist and republican community. Time and again when they get the opportunity to do so they fail to step up to the mark instead preferring to play to the lowest common denominator within their community.

"I will be today contacting the Irish government about the situation in Ballymena. Last year victims of unionist violence in the area did meet with the Irish government. They do have a responsibility to take some action to ensure the safety of Irish citizens in this area who are being faced with this unacceptable situation." ENDS

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