Minister must do more

The Chair of the Workers Party’s South Belfast branch has expressed his disappointment in the response he has received from Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey regarding the recent hate crime and arson attack on the premises of the Belfast Multi Cultural Association.

Paddy Lynn had written to the minister in the aftermath of the attack urging her to build on the public outrage generated by the arson attack by helping to secure a re-build of the premises and also to fund temporary accommodation, in the immediate south Belfast area, to allow the Association to continue with its community support work.

“I am particularly disappointed at what appears to be the Minister’s lack of urgency in this matter”, Paddy said.

“Her proposal to submit a paper addressing the longer-term issues of racism and community relations to the First and Deputy First Minister’s office fails to understand or appreciate the sense of urgency required.”, Paddy added.

“Our collective response to racism and hate crime has to be to demonstrated publicly and in real terms”, he said.

“A publicly funded commitment to rebuilding the Association’s premises, while ensuring that their work can continue, would be an extremely strong signal that the community does not, and will not, tolerate racism and hate crime in any form”

“I am calling on the Minister to re-think her approach and underpin her opposition to racism and hate crime with a tangible demonstration of the community’s’ support and of the government’s resolve”. concluded Paddy

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