Rise in Racist incidents - all-party working group
Sinn Féin South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey has said that agreement among all of the political parties on Friday to establish an all-party working group to tackle racism was an important step but also called for a more substantial and credible response from both central government and local government.
Cllr Maskey said:
"Agreement on Friday (at a meeting organised by NICEM) among all of the political parties on Friday to establish an all-party working group to tackle racism is an important step but the response to the increasing number of racist incidents and attacks needs to be much more strategic, long-term substantial and credible.
"The rise in racist incidents is a public scandal. It is an indictment of the political parties and both local government and British direct rule.
While there is some focus on the reporting of racist incidents what we need to do is have a greater emphasis on the follow-up and how we support the victims of these attacks.
"We clearly need to look at the patterns that are emerging in relation to where these attacks are taking place and who is responsible. It is only through honest analysis that we will make progress.
"Ethnic minorities are making demands of all of the local parties. It is time for genuine leadership in tackling racism and the attitudes that give rise to it. In particular there is a role at local government level, through strong civic leadership, that must be developed." ENDS