Sinn Féin National Chairperson and Junior Minister in the northern Executive, Declan Kearney MLA, has welcomed the commitment to tackling sectarianism in ‘New Decade New Approach’ document.
The South Antrim MLA said:
“Sectarianism is a cancer in our society. It remains the main obstacle to creating and achieving a cohesive and united community in the north.
“There is a huge responsibility and onus on all within public life, particularly those of us within political leadership, to do everything in our power to challenge and tackle sectarianism wherever it raises its head.
“There should be no tolerance of sectarianism, or any form of bigotry in our society.
“Sectarianism is an anathema to Irish republicanism.
“In successive negotiations over recent years, Sinn Féin has consistently argued the need for measures to place anti-sectarianism at the centre of the political institutions.
“In our party policy document ‘One Community – Tackling the scourge of sectarianism in Irish society’, Sinn Féin proposed a number of measures aimed at tackling this issue, including the incorporation of an anti-sectarian pledge for all public representatives.
“I therefore very much welcome the inclusion of this particular proposal in the agreement.
“However, while tackling sectarianism has been included as a priority for the Executive, we now need to develop overarching strategies involving all Executive departments. Consistent political leadership will be required to achieve that from all parties.
“An agreed programme which combines a range of far-reaching measures, involving government, statutory agencies and civic society will be needed to generate an effective anti-sectarian momentum.
“Sinn Féin is absolutely committed to urgently pursuing this important element of ‘New Decade New Approach’ both in terms of Programme for Government implementation, and overall public policy.”