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Sinn Féin condemns racist attack in North Antrim

13 November, 2006

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan has condemned the 'mindless' attack on the home of three Polish nationals in Cullybackey on Saturday night.

Mr McGuigan said:

"There has been an upsurge in racist attacks in recent years in North Antrim and if it continues it will only be a matter of time before an innocent person is killed. Racist attacks are a reality in this constituency and I would call on those involved to desist immediately. I would also appeal to the wider community to defend the rights, the safety and the dignity of those members of our community who are vulnerable to such appalling attacks.

"I would also like to echo comments from the family of Ballymena murder victim Shirley Finlay last week who urged against any public backlash in the wake of a Polish national being charged with her murder.

"By generalising and stereotyping minority communities people become narrow-minded and bigoted. The fact remains that the Polish community, like other ethnic minority communities, makes a valuable contribution to the local economy throughout North Antrim and we in Sinn Féin will continue to try and support ethnic minority communities from not only racism but also exploitation from unscrupulous employers.

"Those who engage in racist abuse or promote racist attitudes help create the environment in which these racist attacks occur. They are akin to the kind of attitudes that Irish emigrants encountered in Britain in the past and are equally as abhorrent.

"Condemning racist attacks is not enough. We need to actively work for the removal of racism from our society. This requires action as much as words. It requires adequate resourcing and support for ethnic minority communities and their support groups. And it requires meaningful partnerships between all sections of society." ENDS

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