South and East Belfast Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

East Belfast panel discussion hailed as a success

Published: 6 December, 2008

East Belfast Sinn Féin representative Niall Ó Donnghaile has hailed last Wednesday's discussion entitled, "'Constitutionally Different - Politically Similar'; can Republicanism and Loyalism ever find common ground", as a huge success. The discussion took place in the East Belfast Mission hall on the Newtownards Road.

Mr Ó Donnghaile said,

"This meeting was historic for a number of reasons. Firstly, in that it brought both sections of our community together and, secondly, in that it is the first time that a Sinn Féin Mayor has addressed a public meeting in what has traditionally been regarded as 'loyalist East Belfast'.

"Speaking on the platform about the topic were Sinn Féin Mayor of Belfast Tom Hartley, PUP MLA Dawn Purvis, and East Belfast community workers Sammy Douglas and Joe O'Donnell.

"There was good participation from the public on a wide range of issues ranging from the economy, education, Irish language, and community relations. What was clear from this meeting is that the people of East Belfast, whether they hail from a Republican or loyalist background have much in common when it comes to social and economic issues".

He concluded,

"This was a very positive engagement and extremely successful in bringing the community together to discuss what they have in common. It is my hope that this marks the beginning of similar engagements in the future and I look forward to any such future events. Engagements such as this are always beneficial and help us to better understand each others perspectives".