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“DUP should wise-up and catch-up” Mitchel McLaughlin

16 February, 2007

Condemning the threat of 'another Harryville' by a loyalist group in Antrim Sinn Féin's Mitchel McLaughlin has called on unionist leaders to disassociate themselves from such sectarian sentiments.

Mitchel McLaughlin said:

"An Antrim paper last week carried a story that it was in receipt of a leaflet distributed by a loyalist group warning of 'another Harryville' situation if plans for development of facilities by St. Comgalls GAA Club proceed.

"I find the language in the leaflet extremely inflammatory and dangerous but it is even more concerning that according to the report, a DUP Councillor and candidate in the Assembly elections has publicly endorsed "all the comments" made within the leaflet.

"I don't have to remind readers of the fatal consequences of similar comments by some unionist spokespersons which in the past have contributed to creating the atmosphere leading to the murder of GAA members in County Antrim and other areas of the North.

"Is this the type of atmosphere that the DUP is intent on perpetuating or will they come out of their time warp and join the rest of us in modern day politics based in equality.

"Sinn Féin is working to create a society of equals where no area will be described as "Protestant" or "Catholic". People should be able to shop, play and work wherever they choose without fear of threat or intimidation.

"The GAA is a cultural, sporting organisation and is open to all sections of the community. Like all other sporting organisations it is apolitical and should not be the target of abuse from politicians. As a public representative I will defend the rights of all community, social, cultural and sporting organisations as well as the general public to live free from the fear of sectarian or racist threat or abuse. I would invite the DUP to subscribe to similar sentiments and catch-up with the rest of us in the real world."

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