North’s parties present united face against sectarianism

Politicians condemn threats against Catholic families

Four Catholic families in Cantrell Close, a mixed community housing development in Belfast, have left their homes after sectarian threats. Photograph: Pacemaker Press

Four Catholic families in Cantrell Close, a mixed community housing development in Belfast, have left their homes after sectarian threats. Photograph: Pacemaker Press

 

The North’s six main parties have come together to condemn sectarianism and call for a paramilitary threat against four Catholic families in south Belfast to be lifted.

The joint statement was issued by the leaders of the DUP, Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Ulster Unionist Party, Alliance and the Greens in response to the threat to residents forced to leave their homes in Cantrell Close, a mixed community housing development off the Ravenhill Road.

Loyalist paramilitaries have been blamed for the threats with Sinn Féin stating that the Ulster Volunteer Force was responsible. The UVF has denied the claim.

“We as political leaders condemn all forms of sectarianism, intolerance and threats of violence. Four families have been forced to leave their homes in south Belfast. This is wrong. Any threat to these families should be lifted immediately,” said the political leaders.

“There is also an onus on the PSNI and the statutory agencies to provide immediate and appropriate support to the affected families, including re-housing those affected if they feel unable to remain in their homes,” they added.

The leaders said the threats ran “absolutely contrary to the ethos under which the Cantrell Close development was created”.

They added, “Everyone has the right to live in a society without fear of intimidation and free from sectarianism. Those behind this threat offer nothing but hatred and division and should be condemned by all political, community and statutory leaders.”