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Michael McIlveen Video - Nakedly Sectarian

14 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Antrim Philip McGuigan has described the mobile phone video mocking the murdered Ballymena teenager Michael McIlveen "as offensive, nakedly sectarian and completely unacceptable".

Mr McGuigan said:

"I have to say that I was both shocked and angered when I saw this video and heard that it was being sent around mobile phones in Ballymena. It is deeply offensive, it is nakedly sectarian and it is completely unacceptable.

"Since the murder of young Michael there has been a determined effort by sections of the unionist community in Ballymena to demonise Michael and the community he came from. This has involved slurs on his family and upbringing by DUP Councillor Davy Tweed and over the weekend a flag bearing his name appeared on a bonfire in Ahoghill.

"These are symptoms of the fact that many unionists in Ballymena are deeply sectarian and deeply anti-Catholic. These traits are encouraged and fostered by the political leadership provided by the DUP from the local MP Ian Paisley down. They resist at every turn basic demands for equality and respect from the nationalist community in the town.

"Videos like this do not happen by accident. Like the murder of Michael McIlveen in the first place they happen because of the conditions and environment created by civic leaders in the town. The DUP bear a heavy responsibility for the current situation in Ballymena and continuing denials by that party cut little ice with any nationalist in this area." ENDS

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