Sinn Fein brought a motion to a Council’s Leisure & Development Committee on Tuesday 12th December calling for an end to sectarianism in Northern Ireland.
Coleraine DUP Councillor Trevor Clarke said:
“Sinn Fein’s proposal failed to recognise the hypocrisy of an anti-sectarianism motion being presented by a party which in the past was attached to a terrorist wing that carried out some of the vilest sectarian crimes imaginable.
I proposed an amendment that called on Council to “recognise the rights [referenced in the original motion] and the right to life itself were denied to thousands of law-abiding citizens by the sectarian actions of all paramilitaries in unjustified, illegal and immoral terrorist campaigns; and call upon all in political life to desist from the practice of eulogising sectarian murderers”.
SDLP and SF councillors abstained on the amendment, which was carried with the support of all other parties. It goes forward to full Council for ratification next week.
Whilst I’m not surprised Sinn Fein wouldn’t support my amendment, I am bewildered at the refusal of the SDLP to support a call for everyone in political life to desist from the practice of eulogising sectarian murderers. The sectarianism that impacts on communities today exists in no small measure because of the sectarian terrorism of the Troubles. It is little wonder Northern Ireland nationalists are turning to parties in the Republic of Ireland for leadership whilst the parties they might be inclined to support in Northern Ireland fail to understand the impact sectarian terrorism has had on so many people in society here.”
Text of original Sinn Fein Motion:
“That, in the aftermath of the intimidation of families from a shared housing development in Cantrell Close Belfast, this Council acknowledges the recent statement by the six main party leaders pledging their support for citizens to live in a society without fear of intimidation, free from sectarianism and condemn all forms of sectarianism, intolerance and threats of violence, and that this council also affirms the principle of the Good Friday Agreement which promised to citizens “the right to freely choose one`s place of residence” and the “right to freedom from sectarian harassment” and pledges its support for;
The right to employment free from sectarian discrimination, intimidation and attack.
The right to housing and to live in your home free from sectarian attack, intimidation or any other discrimination.
The right to free association, recreation and to socialise at places of choice free from sectarian attack, intimidation or other discrimination.
The right to practice religious faith and worship free from sectarian attack, intimidation or other discrimination.
The duty to report or challenge sectarian speech, attack, intimidation, or other discrimination when witnessed or heard.”