Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

9 July 1998 Edition

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Time to practice anti-sectarianism

The grief of Richard, Mark and Jason Quinn's family was heartrending. The three children were the victims of a sectarian hatred which was allowed to go virtually unchecked throughout the Six Counties in recent weeks. In fact, they were murders waiting to happen.and it is a miracle that more Catholic faimilies are not suffering the same grief as the Quinn family.

The homes of over 140 families were firebombed last week but it took the deaths of the three children before Unionist political leaders and church leaders spoke out against what was happening. Neither did they utter a word about the obscene siege of the nationalist residents of the Garvaghy Road.

Nor was this a new phenomenon. Every Twelfth of July, to a greater or lesser degree, isolated Catholic homes, churches and schools have been firebombed. Since the Drumcree crisis reached a height three years ago these attacks have grown in scale and intensity.

Confronting sectarianism must be a prime duty of all democrats. Some have disgraced themselves by their silence; others have belatedly found the courage to speak out.

Their duty now is to make sure it doesn't ever happen again. That will take real courage in the months ahead. They must now wholeheartedly embrace change to bring us to a future of equality.

Dialogue now

As An Phoblacht has constantly repeated, the way to a solution to the Drumcree crisis is through dialogue. The Orange Order must now have the courage to talk to their nationalist neighbours to find a way forward. It is a time to show leadership.

The Garvaghy Road residents have proposed a five-point plan to resolve the issue. This includes a civic forum to explore the economic, social and religious factors which underpin many of the problems of Portadown.

Those Unionists and Orangemen who genuinely want to see a resolution should now engage with the residents and explore the idea of a civic forum. It is a genuine way forward which chimes with the mood of the times.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1