Sinn Féin MLA and National Chairperson Declan Kearney has said it is time to take a stand against sectarian discrimination and division and to promote a better future for all.
Writing for An Phoblacht, Declan Kearney said:
“After a campaign of sectarian social media intimidation by unknown bigots a decision was made last week not to open Naíscoil an Seolta at Braniel primary school.
“Just days later and in a new sickening turn of events, it was reported that a Catholic mother and her young family were intimidated from their home in another estate in East Belfast, by unionist paramilitaries.
“A few weeks previously, and for the second consecutive year, my election posters were placed on an illegal 11th July bonfire, in the Steeple estate, Antrim town.
“The bonfire was illegal, built without permission on public land, with rubber tyres and other hazardous materials, and in direct violation of environmental regulations.
“This is Antrim town in 2021, not Mississippi in the 1960s, and both forms of prejudice and hatred are totally and absolutely unacceptable, then and now.
“These actions are a further obscene demonstration of the determination from an extremist minority to maintain sectarian segregation in northern society.
“Society in the north of Ireland needs to adopt an absolute zero tolerance against these displays of sectarian hate and bigotry.”
The Executive Minister also spelt out the role which the power sharing institutions must play.
“Sinn Féin has consistently argued that sectarian bigotry and sectarian segregation remain key barriers to building a better future. We have called for a united community coalition to eradicate this poison from society.
“We want a new legal definition of sectarianism, entrenched in law with force of legal sanction against behaviours motivated by sectarianism, including robust incitement to hatred provisions.
“Our political institutions should be defined by an ambitious determination to promote good relations, anti sectarianism and equality.
“In 2021 it is time to take a stand against division, and to stand up for inclusion and respect – for a new, progressive future.”