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Following a hate crime attack on people from the gay community and friends returning from the Pride in Newry, Pride Ball in September, Unite the Union have organised a Newry ‘Rally Against Hate Crime’ Demonstration for this Saturday 15 October.

The 2016 Pride in Newry festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
The 2016 Pride in Newry festival. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

 

Earlier this month Jimmy Kelly, Irish Regional Secretary for Unite called on the public to back the demonstration against Homophobic hate planned for Newry saying that it was completely unacceptable that anyone should be attacked because of their sexual orientation or identity.

 

Speaking on the figures the Mr Kelly commented “Northern Ireland is experiencing an unprecedented number of hate crimes with 1,133 racist crimes reported in the twelve months up to June this year, one of the highest figures since records began. There were 1,208 sectarian incidents including 874 sectarian crimes, as well as 324 incidents including 201 crimes with a homophobic motivation.

“While there are a range of factors at play, our politicians have to accept a large responsibility for this situation. In a post-Brexit world, it seems universal that migrants are inherently problematic and are being scapegoated for all societies’ ills. Instead, it is unscrupulous employers and the legal loop-holes enabling them to exploit migrant workers which must be addressed."

 

The Unite Secretary added “It is long past time that Stormont adopts laws providing the LGBT community with full equality. Unfortunately, Northern Ireland is developing an unwelcome reputation for lagging behind in terms of social equality and progress.

“The continuation of such discriminatory policies fuels hatred and creates a climate of fear and intolerance in which these crimes can be perpetrated. So long as we have citizens who are treated less equally than others there will be those who wish to commit such attacks. The onus is now on all political parties to show leadership on this issue and demonstrate their commitment to full equality for all.

“For our part, Unite the Union will not stand aside and let this continue. Eighty years ago trade unionists took the lead in defending Jewish communities in London in decisive street battles which marked a turning point in defeating the fascist threat in the UK. Today Unite stands full-square with minority communities demanding their rights, an end to hate-crime attacks and vilification. I urge the public to stand with us in Newry on Saturday 15th October and let your voice be heard”, Mr Kelly concluded.

The rally takes place at 1pm at the Newry Rainbow Community centre, Rainbow House, 28a Monaghan Street in Newry with a public meeting afterwards at the same location with speakers Jimmy Kelly, Unite; Carmel Gates, NIPSA; John O'Doherty, The Rainbow Project and Damian McShane, Newry Rainbow Community.

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