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'Institutionalised' sectarianism holding us back - Scullion

Sectarianism remains the single biggest obstacle to working class unity, but its eradication remains a "long, long way off," local Workers Party representative Hugh Scullion has said.

'Institutionalised' sectarianism holding us back - Scullion

Hugh Scullion (right) with Workers Party colleagues Joanne Lowry and Tom Gillen at the Stormont launch of a report on sectarianism.

Sectarianism remains the single biggest obstacle to working class unity, but its eradication remains a "long, long way off," local Workers Party representative Hugh Scullion has said.

The Maghera man was speaking after an Equality Coalition research report addressing the institutional aspects of sectarianism was launched at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, last week.

"The report makes the welcome move away from a focus on personal behaviours and ‘cross- community’ initiatives as a way of addressing sectarianism and focuses instead on some of its institutional and organisational aspects," Hugh said.

"Welcome as that approach is, it is not without its difficulties and dangers.

"Workforce imbalances in large organisations and big companies can result from a variety of often complex factors which cannot be over looked or simply dismissed.

"Reducing an analysis of sectarian practice to a numbers game sheds no light and serves little purpose.

"So too with equating every adverse decision to a sectarian motive or using the accusation of sectarianism to address every ill."

Mr Scullion added: "There are a number of immediate steps which could and should be taken to starts to process of eradicating sectarianism from our society.

"An integrated and secular education system, a Bill of Rights , an integrated housing programme and the criminalisation of sectarianism would be a good start".

"However, for as long as institutionalised sectarianism forms the basis of government structures and practices, there will be no political leadership from Stormont and no pressure to address either sectarianism or the vested interests which help perpetuate it.

"There is still a very long way to go."

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