Éirígí spokesperson, Pádraic Mac Coitir, has called into question the motivation of those parties supportive of the so-called parades resolution in Ardoyne.
In a statement Mac Coitir said, “Those advocating an Orange Order parade in the Ardoyne area of Belfast must fully explain their rationale for this spurious decision. It is clear that by agreeing to an Orange Order parade in this area, in the aftermath of years of sectarian abuse and outright terror directed against local residents by members and supporters of the Order, the effective outcome is to reward those responsible for that campaign of sectarian hostility.
“Indeed, Nationalist political parties, particularly Sinn Féin and the SDLP, must also fully explain their outright abandonment of one of the main pillars of the Good Friday Agreement which they fully endorsed and which clearly stipulates that citizens in the Six Counties are entitled to the ‘right to freedom from sectarian harassment’.”
Mac Coitir continued, “For many years, both those Nationalist parties were adamant that sectarian parades should not take place through or near communities where the vast majority of local residents were opposed to such displays of overt triumphalism.
“In recent days, they have completely reversed those previously held positions. Now they are prepared to support and facilitate a parade even though the vast and overwhelming majority of residents directly affected by this decision have not had the opportunity, either through a comprehensive survey or through a locally organised plebiscite, to register their opinions on the issue.
“SF and SDLP politicians have described the so-called Ardoyne resolution as a significant step forward. Those parties must explain their decision to usurp the right to live free from sectarian harassment and replace it by giving the Orange Order a right to exercise an ‘acceptable’ level of sectarianism.”
Mac Coitir also stated, “Sectarianism is recognised internationally as a form of racism. The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), whose reports and standards have been heavily relied upon in Strasbourg jurisprudence, has defined racism as ‘the belief that a ground such as race, colour, language, religion, nationality or national or ethnic origin justifies contempt for a person or a group of persons, or the notion of superiority of a person or a group of persons’.
“Just as there should be no acceptable levels of racism, neither should there be any acceptable levels of sectarianism”, he said, adding, “Éirígi’s position is very clear on this.”
“Our party is firmly of the view that sectarianism in all its forms should be rejected – not rewarded.”
In conclusion, Pádraic Mac Coitir said, “Already, within the media in recent days, clear suggestions and hints are now being made that ‘the Ardoyne template’ can also be applied to other areas.
“As a result, there is a clear onus on SF, SDLP and, indeed on CARA, to either completely reject such speculation or to come clean and tell residents of other communities that they, too, will be expected to endure ‘acceptable levels of sectarianism’ in the near future.”