Issued Ballymena, May 2006.


Socialist Youth utterly condemns the sectarian murder of Michael McIlveen. We extend our sympathy and condolences to his family at this difficult time.

Michael was singled out because he was a Catholic but it is important that the whole community unites in opposition to this and to all sectarian attacks, whether the victims are Protestant or Catholic.

Socialist Youth now represents a significant number of young people in schools, both Catholic and Protestant, right across Northern Ireland. We see Michael's murder, not just as an attack on a Catholic, but as an attack on all school students.

In the main it is young people from the working class communities who are most likely to face sectarian harassment and attack. The best response to Michael's killing would be a united mass mobilisation of people from the working class communities across Ballymena and from young people from all the schools in the area, saying "Enough is enough - all sectarian attacks must end now".

During the worst periods of the Troubles it was united mass demonstrations of this character, called by trade unions and other anti sectarian organisations, that isolated those who were carrying out attacks and helped bring the sectarian killings largely to an end.

Socialist Youth, through organisations like School Students United Against Sectarianism, played an important role in bringing school students out to demonstrate demanding an end to all killings.

A demonstration next week that brought thousands of young people from all the schools in the Ballymena area onto the streets to show their united disgust at this killing would help defuse the sectarian tensions that have been building. If school students were, for example, to leave school early next Friday to attend a protest, this would leave those who want to stoke up sectarianism and carry out further attacks, totally isolated.

Socialist Youth are prepared to help co-ordinate such a protest. If you agree with this idea and would like to help organise it in your school get in touch with us. Trade unions and the communities should also take part in such a protest and bring Ballymena grinding to a halt against sectarianism.

Join Socialist Youth

Socialist Youth is an organisation run by and for young people. We are organised across Northern Ireland in Catholic and Protestant areas. We have consistently campaigned against sectarianism. After young postal worker Danny McColgan was shot dead, Socialist Youth launched School Students United Against Sectarianism and mobilised school students onto the streets against sectarianism on both sides. Socialist Youth organises young people to fight against low pay, racism and any other issues which affect us. We are neither unionist, nationalist, loyalist nor republican, but socialist. We stand for a genuine democratic socialist society, where the needs of people and the environment are put before profits of a tiny rich elite.

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