Racism: NI Sporting Organisations

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 30 November 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Keith Buchanan Keith Buchanan DUP 2:30, 30 November 2021

T7. Mr K Buchanan asked the Minister for Communities, in the light of the racism problems in Yorkshire County Cricket Club, of which she is no doubt aware, whether she is concerned that similar issues are present in sporting organisations in Northern Ireland. (AQT 1857/17-22)

Photo of Deirdre Hargey Deirdre Hargey Sinn Féin

Anyone can see on the news the lived experiences of the players who have been impacted by that racism. The organisation's response has been disgraceful. I am not aware of any similar incidents here. A lot of the sporting codes here have robust plans in place to deal with racism or sectarianism and the impact on sport. I am not aware of anything having come up. Obviously, if we were alerted to that, we would treat it seriously, because there is no place for racism, sectarianism or any form of discrimination in our society — and particularly not in sport, which often unifies and brings people together. We do not want to see it.

Photo of Keith Buchanan Keith Buchanan DUP

I thank the Minister for her response. Minister, some weeks ago, I commented in the House about a parade by Saoradh, an organisation linked to the death of Lyra McKee, from the grounds of Bellaghy GAA club, as stated in the 11/1 notice; that is a factual comment. Is it right that the facilities of an organisation funded by your Department should be used for such events? Is there a difference between racism, which you have just rightly condemned, and organisations supporting those types of events?

Photo of Deirdre Hargey Deirdre Hargey Sinn Féin

I have no details of that individual event. If they applied to the Parades Commission for a parade or a related protest, they have taken the legal route. I do not have any details. I have not received anything in the Department about the event. I would not want to make a public comment unless I had the details or had at least seen them. I have not before now.