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Government must push DUP to address sectarianism within its ranks

24 May, 2006


Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the Irish Government must use all its influence to demand that the DUP address sectarianism within its own ranks.  Welcoming minister Noel Treacy’s condemnation of disgraceful comments, made by DUP leader on Ballymena council Roy Gillespie, in relation to murdered teenager Michael McIlveen Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “Unionist political leaders need to follow the example of those young people from their own community who have crossed community boundaries and sympathised with nationalist neighbours.”

He said, “I welcome the minister’s condemnation of the disgraceful comments from DUP Councillor Roy Gillespie in relation to murdered teenager Michael McIlveen.  Michael was the third young catholic to be murdered in similar circumstances since the DUP became the largest unionist party. 

“Unionist political leaders now need to follow the example of those young people from their own community who have crossed community boundaries and sympathised with nationalist neighbours.  With that in mind the Irish Government must use all its influence to demand that the DUP address sectarianism within its own ranks.  That party is guilty of playing to the most sectarian elements in the unionist community and this must change if sectarianism is to be combated. 

“It is Sinn Féin’s view that we need to see collective action to address the issue of sectarianism.  We need to see the Good Friday Agreement fully implemented and specifically we need to see unionist politicians share power equally with their nationalist and republican neighbours for the first time since the foundation of the northern state.” ENDS

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