[Sinn Fein]

2 May 2000

Sinn Fein councillor calls for round-table talks to defuse racial tension in Dublin's inner city

Sinn Fein has called on State agencies - including the Eastern Health Board and the Garda - to take part in round-table talks with Irish and African shop owners, residents and community groups in Dublin's north inner city to defuse racial tensions.

Sinn Fein Councillor Christy Burke made the appeal after Bank Holiday weekend clashes in Parnell Street where an African-owned shop was attacked. Councillor Burke said:

``State agencies have the prime responsibility in defusing the tensions created between black and white people by their policies. Community organisations and local political leaders such as myself are already actively playing our part but we cannot make real progress without the active support and involvement of State agencies.

``The north inner city is a powder keg. Everyone must get round the table and try to resolve any problems we have before the situation flares again and someone is maimed or even killed.''

Councillor Burke said that whatever differences people have with each other, there is no justification for racial abuse and physical attacks. ``We should talk to each other to iron things out.''

Note: Cllr Burke is liaising with community groups today (Tuesday) to try and initiate round-table talks. Cllr Burke @ 086 812 6347

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