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McGuinness - We Must Unite Against Sectarian Hatred

17 May, 2006

Speaking after attending the funeral of Michael McIlveen in Ballymena today, Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP said that political, community and church leaders had to ensure that this was the last sectarian killing of this kind.

Mr McGuinness said:

“Since Michael’s brutal murder just over one week ago in Ballymena we have heard many positive soundings from within the unionist community about their willingness to face up to sectarianism. Michael was the third young catholic to be murdered in similar circumstances since the last Assembly election in November 2004 when the DUP assumed the mantle of the leadership of unionism. We have to collectively ensure that he is the last.

“Sinn Féin is willing and ready to stand side by side with any unionist politician or church leader in our collective opposition to sectarian hatred and sectarian discrimination. A clear message must be sent out that we are prepared to create a society based upon equality and respect which removes the root causes of sectarianism.

“The Good Friday Agreement offers us such a road map. Politicians can send out a strong message that we are prepared to work together for the benefit of the entire community by sitting down and establishing power sharing government which respects all sections of our society. That must be a priority for politicians who are genuinely serious about eradicating this problem form within our communities.” ENDS

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