31 May 2001 Edition

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Parents angry over RUC school visit

Parents of children attending Termoncanice primary school in Limavady have hit out at school authorities, who invited the RUC to the school without informing them.

The RUC visited the school last week, causing some parents to complain that had they known of the visit they would have kept their children off. Parents have contacted the school and complained to the authorities, saying their main concern is for their children.

One woman complained, ``I object to the RUC but if they are going to be in the school I would have liked the choice of keeping my children away''.

Malachy Lowery, the school principal, attempted to defend the RUC visit saying: ``We have been having these visits on road safety for many years and no one has complained in the past. If any parent has a complaint about this they should contact me or any member of senior management to discuss it.''

``In the middle of the debate over policing it is unfortunate that the authorities in Termoncanice should aid and abet an RUC charm offensive,'' said Sinn Féin's Malachy O'Kane.

Equality Commission says sectarianism still a problem

The Equality Commission has released figures showing that sectarian discrimination in workplaces across the North is still a huge problem.

The figures show that last year alone, £345,000 was paid out in compensation claims in 56 separate cases.

Of the cases, all brought under fair employment legislation, 35 cases were taken by Catholics and 18 by Protestants.

Speaking to An Phoblacht, Sinn Féin's Dara O'Hagan said: ``These figures show that Catholics are twice as likely to be discriminated against in their work environment than their Protestant counterparts.''

Petra Shiels, The Equality Commission's Director of Legal Services, said having equal opportunity in the work place was one thing but ensuring management used them was another. ``Having good policies in place is important but it is only the first step,'' she said. ``Management must ensure that practice in their organisations lives up to the standards set out in equal opportunity policies and anti-harassment guidelines.''

Shiels added that any person who believed they were suffering from unfair treatment because of their religious beliefs or political view could seek advice from the Equality Commission.

``We will continue to work to eliminate discrimination and to use the full powers of the law to challenge discrimination in all its forms,'' she said.

Loyalists desecrate Sands memorial

Loyalists who threw a memorial stone for Bobby Sands into Lough Melvin in County Fermanagh are guilty of hate crime says Sinn Féin's Michelle Gildernew.

The stone, erected in memory of the hunger striker, was thrown into the lake just days after it was unveiled near Garrison.

Gildernew Sinn Féin's Fermanagh\South Tyrone candidate added: ``this attack was clearly premeditated and the damage to our Enniskillen office which occurred last week is a throwback to 20 years ago, when reactionary forces within the constituency attempted ,unsuccessfully, to intimidate nationalists and derail the campaign to have first Bobby Sands and then Owen Carron elected as MP.

``Clearly there are reactionary forces at work here that are running scared of a Sinn Féin victory''.

On Sunday 20 May, loyalists were involved in a paint attack on the party's Enniskillen offices.

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