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Equality survey shows growing awareness of the Equality Agenda

21 June, 2006

Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Equality/Human Rights, Caitriona Ruane MLA commenting the publication of the Equality Commission survey into the public awareness about Equality issues today said that it clearly shows growing awareness of the Equality Agenda but voiced concerns about the perception of increasing prejudice.

Ms Ruane said:

"Today's survey findings are encouraging in the sense that a higher proportion of people surveyed are more supportive of equality legislation in our society than two years ago, with awareness of Section 75 increased from 9% in 2002 to 28% today.

"However the most alarming message in the survey is that more people have a perception that prejudice and discriminatory attitudes are growing with respect to the Traveller community, with a sizeable minority of respondents saying that they would mind having a Traveller as a work colleague (24%), neighbour (41%) or relative by marriage (38%).

"These alarming statistics send a clear message to all of us, regardless of our political or community background, that the underlying attitudes which give rise to such prejudice must be acknowledged and active steps taken to eradicate such intolerance from our society.

"There survey showed a similar level of prejudice against those from a lesbian, gay or bisexual orientation.

"Sinn Féin has serious concerns that the survey findings will remain what they are, statistics.

"Instead they should serve as a wake-up call to all those in political, policy and decision-making organisations, whether public or private, to strive even harder in their everyday lives, workplaces or positions of authority to challenge prejudices in whatever guise they present themselves in.

"Sinn Féin has been working with the Equality Commission to encourage leadership on these and other issues such as sectarianism. We welcome today's survey findings in that spirit and look forward to a range of initiatives coming forward that will ensure that we don't see the same or worse statistics being produced in the next survey." ENDS

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