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Executive all talk and no action over racism, says MLA

By David Young, PA

Published 12/10/2016

Doug Beattie
Doug Beattie

Stormont ministers are condemning racism, but failing to actually tackle it, an Opposition MLA has warned.

Ulster Unionist Doug Beattie made the claim after he attempted to amend a Sinn Fein Assembly motion on the issue, but was voted down by the party and by the DUP.

The Sinn Fein motion expressed concern at a reported 87% rise in hate crimes in four years. The failed UUP amendment attempted to attach firm targets to the Executive's anti-racism strategy.

Mr Beattie said without concrete goals progress would be limited. "The motion is weak - it is a soft ball being bounced around the Executive," he added.

SDLP MLA Richie McPhillips echoed the remarks. "If this chamber and the Executive wants to take racism seriously, they must develop and invest in a coherent action plan," he said.

Sinn Fein's Philip McGuigan defended the administration's approach. "We must ensure that equality means equality for all," he said."The racial equality strategy is a vital cog in that wheel."

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