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Discrimination against former political prisoners must end - McCann

25 January, 2016 - by Jennifer McCann

Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann has said all forms of discrimination against former political prisoners must end. 

Speaking after attending the High Court to support West Belfast man Martin Neeson and his family, Ms McCann said; 

"The sacking of Martin Neeson after 18 years of service in post because he was a former political prisoner is totally unacceptable.

"I have known Martin for many years and have always found him to be hard working, responsible and a respected member of the local community. 

"His dismissal blatantly breaches the spirit of the peace process and the equality commitments made in the Good Friday and all subsequent agreements.

"In these agreements special mention is made of the contribution made by former political prisoners to supporting and maintaining the peace.

"Their contribution is widely recognised yet discrimination against former political prisoners is widespread particularly in the area of employment. This is unfair and unjust.

"The recent Fresh Start Agreement itself refers to the importance of reintegration of political ex-prisoners by addressing the various barriers to employment outlined in a Review Panel Report.

"Martin Neeson and all former political prisoners are being criminalised and denied full membership of society.

"Former political prisoners are entitled to be treated with respect as full and equal members of society.

"This is a civil rights issue – an issue of equal citizenship.

"Martin Neeson should be reinstated in his job and all forms of discrimination against former political prisoners ended." 

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