Sinn Féin’s Assembly spokesperson on equality, Emma Sheerin MLA has welcomed the Equality Commission’s focus on the need for updated equality legislation in the north.
The Mid Ulster MLA said:
“Since 1998, Sinn Féin have consistently advocated for the progression of equality legislation within the Assembly.
“It is frustrating that after 23 years of the Good Friday Agreement, and a restoration of the institutions following the New Decade New Approach Agreement, we are still falling behind in our duty to ensure equality for everyone in our society, no matter their class, race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
“As Chair of the Bill of Rights Committee I feel this frustration very acutely. We are being prevented from delivering a Bill of Rights by the DUP, who are, very obviously, blocking the appointment of the Panel of Experts promised in New Decade, New Approach. The Bill of Rights was a key component of the Good Friday Agreement, and yet 23 years on we are no further forward.
“This comes as no shock to us as a party, because the DUP have blocked numerous attempts to progress equality legislation over the years, including LGBT rights, women’s rights and language rights.
“The north can no longer live in the dark ages as the Equality Commissioner pointed out. We need a comprehensive Bill of Rights followed by an All-Ireland Charter of Rights as promised in the Good Friday Agreement.”