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Video: Sinn Féin's Linda Dillon apologises for use of the offensive word 'coloured'

A SINN Féin MLA last night apologised for using an offensive term which earlier in the week led to the resignation of the English Football Association's chairman.

Mid -Ulster representative Linda Dillon used the word "coloured" during yesterday's meeting of Stormont's Justice Committee.

During a discussion on the Domestic Abuse and Family Proceedings Bill, she said in reference to a scenario involving the PSNI: "... for example, you may easily be able to see that someone has a physical disability, you may easily be able to see somebody is coloured, somebody is... from an Asian background and things like that."

None of the other MLAs present at the committee or taking part remotely intervened to highlight the inappropriate use of language or correct it.

Use of the term 'coloured' is deemed offensive due to its associations with racial segregation and the subjugation of black people, primarily in the US.

In a statement issued through the Sinn Féin press office last night Ms Dillon, the party's spokesperson on victims and legacy, said: “I unreservedly apologise for the offensive remark and I deeply regret the hurt caused.”

Earlier this week, English FA chairman Greg Clarke resigned after using the phrase “coloured footballers” in an address to MPs. Yesterday he also resigned from the world football body, FIFA.

People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carrol welcomed Ms Dillon's apology and "recognition that her words were offensive".

"It is very concerning that any MLA would consider it appropriate to use this kind of language in a Stormont chamber, especially as institutional racism is being challenged globally," he said.

"Elected representatives should redouble their efforts in the current period to listen to the voices of those impacted by racism when they tell us about the impact of such language."

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