"We must banish sectarianism and bigotry": Bell's plea to Northern Ireland

ONE of the Alliance Party’s longest serving councillors has called on parents and families to do all that they can to eradicate sectarianism in Northern Ireland.

And North Down shadow assembly member Eileen Bell – who is the Alliance Party’s chairperson – has also called on community, business and political leaders to follow in their footsteps.

The founder member of the Peace Train organisation and previous cross-community worker believes that the “first steps” in eradicating hatred and division can be taken in the home.

Mrs. Bell said that once the first steps had been taken to eradicating what, she claims is, “the principles of division” – other “influential groups” could then take over from the family.

“After the events of the last few weeks, it is clear that bigotry, sectarianism and hatred are still rife within Northern Ireland,” said the assemblywoman.

“That’s why everyone in this society must do all that they can to eradicate these evils from our society. It is clear that we all have a role to play in abolishing these terrible principles.

“By teaching children to have respect for all traditions at such an early age, we are giving them the chance to look at people as human beings and not just as Catholic or Protestant, Unionist or Nationalist.

“Most people would agree that the sentiments of hate, distrust and suspicion are formulated in the home.

“But all parents must do their best to instruct their children to have respect, tolerance and understanding for all sections of the community. Anything else, and the seeds of hate will continue to grow in this society,” said Mrs. Bell.

The Alliance councillor also urged parents and families to investigate the attempts made by their local business, community and political representatives to eradicate sectarianism.

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