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Martin McGuinness Makes call for mobilisation against sectarianism after meeting McIlveen Family

10 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness this afternoon visited the family of murdered Ballymena schoolboy Michael McIlveen to express personally to them his condolences and those of the Sinn Féin leadership. Speaking after the visit Mr McGuinness called on civic, community and political leaders in Ballymena to organise a mobilisation against
sectarianism in the town in memory of Michael.

Mr McGuinness said:

"The sectarian murder of Michael McIlveen is firstly a massive tragedy for his mother and family. It is also a tragedy for wider society. Michael is the second 15 year old Catholic to be murdered in just over a year. This cannot be allowed to continue. The McIlveen family have received expressions of sympathy from all sections of the community.

" We are over ten years into a peace process. Sectarian hatred in our society must be tackled and dealt with. Ballymena has obviously been in the headlines in recent years as Catholic churches, homes and business have seen regular attacks. The murder of young Michael McIlveen has brought matters to a head.

"No longer can civic leaders in Ballymena turn a blind eye. No more can civic society in the town ignore this problem. I am calling publicly today for all civic, community and political leaders in Ballymena to come together and organise a mobilisation against sectarianism in our society in memory of Michael to ensure that this needless and unjustifiable sectarian killing is the last. Sinn Fein will stand side by siade with any unionist politican in
challenging sectarianism within this society." ENDS

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