24th November 2001/P>
End of blockade welcomed
Sectarian nature of state must be tackled
Speaking at a meeting of Sinn Fein's Ard Chomhairle in Dublin today, the Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams welcomed the ending of the blockade of Holy Cross School.
Mr. Adams said:
``I welcome the end of the blockade of Holy Cross school. I am a little concerned at the conditionality of the Glenbryn residents statement. Everyone must be clear that a resumption of this activity will be totally unacceptable. As it is the blockade was allowed to continue for far too long.
``Irish society owes a great debt to the parents, staff and particularly the children of Holy Cross. They are the heroes and heroines of this savagely sectarian episode.
``The British Secretary of State, John Reid recently made some thoughtful remarks about sectarianism. I intend in due course to make a considered response to his comments. There is a great need for a public debate on this issue and the causes of it. An examination of the attitudes to the Holy Cross blockade will help that debate and inform the effort to defeat sectarianism. It also has to consider the essentially sectarian nature of the northern statelet.
``The Holy Cross affair like the picket at Harryville Church, the insistance of the loyal orders to march through Catholic areas and the daily attacks on Catholic families are symptomatic of the underlying sectarianism which has underpinned British rule in Ireland.
``Dr. Reids remarks failed to take account of how British policy fostered sectarianism. The unionists were the caretakers of the `cold house' built for nationalists by the British government. In the course of changing the social architecture and the ownership of society - the British government has to face up to its responsbilities. Nothing less is acceptable.''
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