New councils must become pillars of tolerance, diversity and inclusion – McGuinness

Martin McGuinness and Elisha McCallion.
Martin McGuinness and Elisha McCallion.

Sinn Féin Deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness has said the new councils will create new opportunities to embrace equality and promote new progressive alliances.

Speaking in advance of a seminar for Sinn Féin councillors being held in Derry today Saturday Mr McGuinness said: “On April 1st, the 11 new councils in the north come on line which presents an opportunity to do things differently and better. Indeed, we have an obligation to do things differently and better.

“Councils in which Sinn Fein are a significant influence must become models of equality, inclusivity and partnership.

“They must take the lead in the challenging task of reconciliation and provide an alternative to the triumphalism and domination which characterised unionist domination in local government in this state for so long.

“So we must at all times stand for equality and seek out progressive alliances to do so.

“That is how we will block the DUP’s attempt to legalise anti-Gay discrimination in the Assembly. The DUP-sponsored Bill is going nowhere.

“The referendum in the south on marriage equality will move us further towards equality and inclusion on this island. We need to continue on that journey. As a society, north and south, we must realise equality for all our citizens.

“Councils must become pillars tolerance, diversity and inclusion, reconciling and accommodating not just orange and green but all the other political, social and cultural colours that make up our society in the 21st century and Sinn Féin councillors must be at the fore at driving that agenda forward.”