21 October 1999 Edition

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Questions on Paisley's Dublin visit

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín O Caoláin has slammed sectarian attacks of any kind, saying they are ``anathema'' to republicanism. Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday, 19 October, he highlighted the fact that on all occasions, including recent attacks on church premises in County Monaghan, he had made clear his opposition and that of Sinn Féin to sectarianism in any form.The issue was raised at Taoiseach's Question Time when a number of deputies asked the Taoiseach to report on his recent meeting with Ian Paisley in Dublin. The following exchange occurred:

Caoimhghin O Caoláin: Does the Taoiseach agree that all sectarian attacks, but especially those perpetrated against places of worship, are to be condemned without reservation? On my own behalf and on behalf of those I represent, I do so here again. Does he further agree that they are anathema to Irish republicanism? Regarding some of the incidents raised by Dr. Paisley on his visit, does the Taoiseach acknowledge the Garda statement yesterday that they were, indeed, incidents of pure vandalism? I welcome his confirmation that he raised incidents of a sectarian nature, including those at Harryville, with Dr. Paisley during his visit.

The Taoiseach: Again, I acknowledge the Deputy's comments and know that he has made such comments strongly previously. I am also aware that he and his elected colleagues in the constituency have been strong on these issues on the ground. I emphasised to Dr. Paisley that members of this House representing that constituency totally abhorred these acts. Again, because of the court case, I do not want to comment on the Garda report. It is a matter for the courts.


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