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Violence was about sectarianism not deprivation

21 September, 2005

Responding to remarks made today by the British Secretary of State Peter Hain regarding unionist disadvantage and alienation, Sinn Féin Assembly member for South Belfast Alex Maskey said:

" Of course there is deep disadvantage across the north of Ireland, including in some loyalist communities Sinn Fein has consistently argued that discrimination and deprivation needs to be energetically tackled wherever it occurs.

" But I cannot see how deprivation can be tackled by forcing a sectarian parade along the nationalist Springfield Road. Last weeks violence was not about deprivation it was about a failure to force a sectarian Orange march through a Catholic area.

" The reality is that there is a failure of leadership within unionism. The DUP and the UUP ignore the real needs of their constituents and instead focus on out-dated expressions of sectarian triumphalism. If unionist communities are voiceless then they really need to look at the quality and performance of those they have elected to represent them.

" Sinn Fein will continue to demand action to tackle inequality and disadvantage whether it occurs on the Shankill, the Falls or elsewhere." ENDS

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