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Cycle of young Catholics being murdered must end

12 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP today said the pattern of violence against young Catholics must be stopped. He said part of this had to involve positive leadership from Ian Paisley and the DUP.

Mr McGuinness said:

"In November 2004 James McMahon was murdered in Lisburn. In August 2005 Thomas Devlin was murdered in North Belfast and last weekend young Michael McIlveen was murdered in Ballymena.

"These three young men had their whole lives ahead of them yet they fell victim to anti-Catholic hatred, bigotry and sectarianism. This pattern of sectarian violence cannot be allowed to continue. Politicians have the primary responsibility to demonstrate leadership and unionist politicians in particular have a role to play in challenging sectarianism within their community. Sinn Féin will stand shoulder to shoulder with any politician willing to stand with us against sectarianism.

"I have to say that remarks made by many unionist politicians in recent days have been encouraging. However the remarks by the DUP Councillor Roy Gillespie stating that Michael McIlveen will not enter heaven because he is a Catholic, are disgraceful and we need to hear commentary from Ian Paisley on this matter.

"Unionist politicians refusing to talk or share power with nationalists and republicans is at one end of the scale which ends up with young catholic lying dead on the street. That is the reality of the society in which we live and that is the reality which must now changed. Ian Paisley has a major role to play in ending the cycle of the murder of young Catholics on our streets. He now has to rise to that challenge." ENDS

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