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Sinn Féin invites Stormont leaders to help tackle sectarianism

Michelle O'Neill has invited her Stormont counterparts to the launch of an anti-sectarianism initiative. Picture by Mal McCann

SINN Féin has invited rival party leaders to the launch of a new initiative on sectarianism.

Party president Mary Lou McDonald will be in Belfast on Monday June 25 to unveil the drive against religious hatred.

As well as a range of representatives from civil society, including the Orange Order, Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O'Neill has asked her Stormont counterparts to attend the launch.

In a letter sent out last week, the Mid Ulster MLA described sectarianism as a "scourge on our societal and political landscape".

"If we are to build a better society this scourge that has pervaded all aspects of life must be eradicated," Ms O'Neill wrote.

"We, in Sinn Féin, are absolutely committed to tackling and eradicating sectarianism across Irish society. We are also absolutely committed to building a future defined by hope and prosperity wherein the rights of all citizens are upheld, respected and protected."

The party outlined an action plan in last year's policy statement 'One Community: Tackling the Scourge of Sectarianism in Irish Society'.

It urges public bodies, trade unions and firms to adopt anti-sectarianism policies.

In a potentially controversial move, the policy also advocates that successful bidders for government contracts and or public funding put in place policies to eradicate religious hatred.

Ms O'Neill told The Irish News there was "not one thing about republicanism that is sectarian".

"What we're trying to do is make it as inclusive as possible," she said.

"We want this document to be a work in practice – something people do ever day."

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