Post-Brexit focus on restricting migrants and failure to legislate for marriage equality are leading to growth of hate-crime
Unite the union calls for attendance at rally set for 1pm Saturday, October 15th at Newry Rainbow Centre
October 5th: Jimmy Kelly, Irish Regional Secretary for Unite called on the public to back a demonstration against Homophobic hate planned for Newry on Saturday, October 15th:
“At the end of this year’s successful Newry Pride events in September, five members of the Newry Rainbow community were savagely beaten for no other reason than they were members of the LGBT community. It is completely unacceptable that anyone should be subjected to such a horrific attack simply because of their sexual orientation or identity.
“Unite’s community branch in Newry has taken the initiative of staging a demonstration against Hate Crime outside Rainbow House at 1pm on Saturday, 15th October. I am calling on the Trade Union movement, the LGBT community and the wider community at large to stand with us on this issue.
“Northern Ireland is experiencing an unprecedented number of hate crimes with 1,133 racist crimes reported in the twelve months up to June this year, one of the highest figures since records began. There were 1,208 sectarian incidents including 874 sectarian crimes, as well as 324 incidents including 201 crimes with a homophobic motivation.
“While there are a range of factors at play, our politicians have to accept a large responsibility for this situation. In a post-Brexit world, it seems universal that migrants are inherently problematic and are being scapegoated for all societies’ ills. Instead, it is unscrupulous employers and the legal loop-holes enabling them to exploit migrant workers which must be addressed.
“It is long past time that Stormont adopts laws providing the LGBT community with full equality. Unfortunately, Northern Ireland is developing an unwelcome reputation for lagging behind in terms of social equality and progress.
“The continuation of such discriminatory policies fuels hatred and creates a climate of fear and intolerance in which these crimes can be perpetrated. So long as we have citizens who are treated less equally than others there will be those who wish to commit such attacks. The onus is now on all political parties to show leadership on this issue and demonstrate their commitment to full equality for all.
“For our part, Unite the Union will not stand aside and let this continue. Eighty years ago trade unionists took the lead in defending Jewish communities in London in decisive street battles which marked a turning point in defeating the fascist threat in the UK. Today Unite stands full-square with minority communities demanding their rights, an end to hate-crime attacks and vilification. I urge the public to stand with us in Newry on Saturday 15th October and let your voice be heard”, Mr Kelly concluded.