13 September 2007 Edition

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Direct talks invitation to Loyal Orders

Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has invited the Loyal Orders to hold direct talks with Sinn Féin. The Sinn Féin MLA was speaking during a debate in the Six County assembly on sectarian violence.
“Sinn Féin condemns utterly, without reservation, all sectarian attacks. No equivocation – all sectarian attacks are wrong. I also want to make it clear, so that there is no confusion, anyone who has information about sectarian attacks should go to the PSNI”, Anderson said.
“Whether sectarian attacks are directed against young people, old people, their homes or simply against families who wish to live in peace with their neighbours or pray in their respective churches, they are equally wrong, and destructive of all that we are trying to build through these institutions of power sharing. But condemnations are easy.
“Sinn Féin has long declared that political parties must give leadership in their communities. When politicians attempt to dissolve all issues along sectarian lines, they are creating the conditions which fuel sectarianism.
“Some people including some members of this Chambers have worked hard to keep the two main communities apart. In my opinion the Orange Order also have a responsibility in this. We will not advance this important battle against sectarianism through denial. The question for us all is how can we bring sectarian crimes to an end?
“On the ground in Derry, and elsewhere, there has been dialogue between both communities; between politicians and church leaders. There has been dialogue and leadership.
“Today I want to extend the invitation to the Orange Order – and I know that there are many prominent members of those institutions on the benches opposite. I want to invite them to engage in direct dialogue with Sinn Féin.
“It is the duty of this Executive and Assembly to promote tolerance, inclusivity and equality; to eradicate sectarianism, racism and other forms of discrimination and to promote a pluralist society in which differences is celebrated and cultural diversity is encouraged.
“Sinn Féin believes that this is best achieved by engaging with each other on the basis of our common humanity. In this way we can deliver for society and play our part in ending sectarian attacks and the politics of division which has fuelled them”, she said.  

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