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DUP response to cancellation of President McAleese visit demonstrates lack of leadership

7 September, 2005

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has said that the response of DUP MLA Diane Dodds to the cancellation of the visit of Irish President Mary McAleese to the Shankill 'demonstrates a lack of leadership'.

Mr Maskey said:

"Mary McAleese has done more than any DUP politician to try and build bridges with the loyalist community, particularly in areas like North and West Belfast.

"The response of Diane Dodds to the cancellation of this visit is a disgrace.

"Instead of trying to whip up sectarian tensions Diane Dodds has again demonstrated a lack of leadership. The DUP promised confident leadership but we have not seen any evidence of it yet.

"This is not even about an Orange Order parade on the Springfield Road because if it was then there would be engagement and dialogue with the people living there. The coming together of unionist political leaders, loyalist paramilitaries and the Orange Order has nothing to do with any perception they may be trying to create about protestant culture being under siege. It is about using violence and the threat of violence to oppose the peace process.

"Conflict resolution requires us all to try and build bridges. There are plenty of people on the Shankill who want to build bridges. The DUP and Diane Dodds appear to want to do anything but engage in a process of conflict resolution and rebuilding the peace process." ENDS

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