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Hansen's 'Orangefest' more like 'bigotfest'

30 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member Upper Bann John O'Dowd today accused the British government of funding anti-Catholic bigotry and sectarianism. Mr Kelly comments come after David Hansen handed the Orange Order over £100,000 to promote their anti-Catholic parades in Belfast.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"The Orange Order is an anti-Catholic sectarian organisation. This is an undisputable fact. Year after year they seek to march through nationalist areas without the consent of the host community. In the past they have been involved in widespread violence and intimidation as witnessed in Belfast last summer. No matter how much money David Hansen throws at the Orange Order he cannot alter these facts.

"The Twelfth of July parades are not tourist attractions and they never will be. David Hansen would be better facing up to the reality that his proposed 'Orangefest' will be seen as little more than 'bigotfest' in the eyes of the vast majority of people not connected to the Orange Order, many of whom annually flee from the north during July.

"David Hansen and his department have for sometime been raising very serious concerns amongst nationalists about the sectarian allocation of funds. Last week well over £100,000 was removed from successful inclusive community festivals in North and West Belfast. It is unacceptable that the British government have now decided to allocate taxpayers money to fund sectarianism, bigotry, prejudice and domination." ENDS

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