West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

SDLP 'cop out' will enshrine discrimination against Ex- Pows into law

Published: 29 May, 2013

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has accused the SDLP of a 'cop out' in refusing to use the only mechanism available to help block a rejectionist unionist bill aimed at discriminating against former political prisoners.

He said,

"The SDLP says that it is unlikely that it will support this discriminatory Bill but this is a complete and utter cop-out.

"By refusing to sign a petition of concern to block the Bill the party is ensuring that discriminatory legislation against former political prisoners is now enshrined into law.

"We have already witnessed a parallel witch hunt against a number of other POWS because of their fields of employment and the passing of this Bill will send out a message that it is justifiable to discriminate against Ex-Pows.

""This legislation is against the core principles which underpin the Good Friday Agreement which at its heart is the ethos of inclusivity and equality.

"This Bill is the brain child of the anti-peace process rejectionist unionist Jim Allister. That is the politics behind this discrimination. Let us be very clear that is who the SDLP are now aligning themselves with.

"Just last week the SDLP were saying that this was bad law and yet they have decided to ensure that the very same bad law is allowed to pass through the Assembly into legislation.

"This discriminatory bill is in the view of many a direct contravention of European Convention of Human Rights and if passed will no doubt result in further legal challenge."