02 September 2005

Unionist response to sectarian violence 'a disgrace'

Sinn Féin

Published: 2 September, 2005



Sinn Féin North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has described the response of the leaders of the UUP and DUP to the campaign of attacks against Catholics being orchestrated by unionist paramilitaries as 'a disgrace' and urged Reg Empey and Ian Paisley Snr to use their considerable influence with paramilitaries to end the sectarian violence.

Mr Kelly said:

"The response of both the leaders to campaign of attacks against Catholics being orchestrated by unionist paramilitaries is a disgrace. On a daily basis Catholics homes, schools, businesses and places of worship are being attacked.

"As leader of the UUP Reg Empey met the IMC not about the 100+ attacks or the five murders carried out by unionist paramilitaries but about the IRA. As leader of the DUP Ian Paisley threatens to break off contact with the Irish government and is not acting to resolve sectarian violence in his own constituency.

"Reg Empey and Ian Paisley need to take their heads out of the sand and use their considerable influence to bring an end to these sectarian attacks.

"It is time that both began to show leadership on the issue of sectarianism. There is a political vacuum that is being filled, as it always is, by unionist sectarian violence. The failure to engage in the dialogue required to get the political process back on track is a failure of leadership.

"Sinn Féin are ready and willing to engage in getting the political process up and running. Continued delay by unionist leaders only creates the space and political cover for unionist paramilitaries to continue their sectarian campaign." ENDS

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