[Sinn Fein]

6 December 1996

Adams Challenges Unionist Leaders

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has described last nights events in Ballymena as further evidence of the ``heightened sectarian tension which has pervaded the north since Drumcree''.

Mr. Adams appealed for calm and urged an ``end to the concerted attempt by loyalist elements to intimidate and terrorise catholics in Ballymena''.

``The unionist leaderships cannot divorce themselves from responsibility for this situation. Nor can they excuse their failure to take a stand by trying to link Ballymena situation with that in Dunloy. In that small village protestants are freely going to their church each week and local catholics have rallied to their support following vandalism at the Church.

``The Ballymena situation presents a real challenge to the unionist leaders. They have to take a lead and bring an end to this siege of a small catholic community.''

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