Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Labour Party's sectarian divide stifles young

AFTER the fiasco of the Haass/O'Sullivan talks it is timely to hear Hugo MacNeill, of the Irish Funds and British-Irish Association, raise a call for new opportunities for the younger generation to act together in politics (DebateNI, January 6).

We have been pointing out for years that cross-community Labour Party electoral politics are rigidly suppressed here by the party leadership, with the active support of the Labour Party in Dublin.

As a result, young people here are denied the opportunity to engage in progressive, forward-looking, anti-sectarian politics. They are denied the right to vote for the Labour Party that may form their government and set their taxes from May 2015.

They and their elders are deliberately and consciously confined by the two Labour parties to the sectarian politics of their communal blocs. This has produced the inevitable outcome that Hugo deplores.

This suppression of Labour Party politics, in its toxic effects, is no less than a crime against the body politic.

Until Hugo addresses this elephant in the room, nice talk about "civic forums" for young people is just well-meaning displacement activity.

BOYD BLACK

Secretary, Labour Party in NI

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