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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 October 2006, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Minister shares anti-bigotry plan
Cathy Jamieson
Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson met the delegation
Politicians from Northern Ireland have met Scotland's Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson to find out what the executive is doing to tackle sectarianism.

The SDLP and the Ulster Unionist Party are on a two-day fact-finding mission.

After meeting Ms Jamieson on Thursday they met church officials in Edinburgh to talk about religious tolerance.

The group travel to Glasgow on Friday for talks with the Scottish Orange Order and to meet representatives from Celtic and Rangers football clubs.

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said it was "committed to tackling all forms of bigotry and prejudice".

Today's visit gives us a real opportunity to share our experiences and to develop our understanding
Scottish Executive spokeswoman

She added: "Following the justice minister's visit to Northern Ireland earlier in the year, it was proposed that the SDLP and UUP should make a joint fact-finding trip to Scotland to find out more about the work being taken forward in Scotland.

"We are working on many fronts, including education, sport, faith and marches and parades, to ensure that it is being tackled at all levels.

"Today's visit gives us a real opportunity to share our experiences and to develop our understanding."

Speaking before the meeting, SDLP senior negotiator Sean Farren said he had recognised the determined efforts Scotland was making to "tackle the threat" of sectarianism.

'Real vision'

He added: "Overcoming and eliminating such manifestations of sectarianism and racism in Northern Ireland will take time.

"It also will require clear political and communal leadership."

The visit precedes crunch talks in St Andrews next week over the future of power-sharing in the province.

Mr Farren said: "In the coming weeks there is a golden opportunity to restore devolved government in the north.

"It is clear that at the top of any restored executive's list of priorities should be a concerted strategy for tackling sectarianism and promoting a real vision of a shared future for all.

"Hearing first hand and learning from the experiences of others, such as in Scotland, can only help us to make that vision a reality."


SEE ALSO
Football ban orders take effect
29 Aug 06 |  Scotland
Second summit to tackle bigotry
17 Jul 06 |  Glasgow and West
McConnell tribute to NI progress
21 May 06 |  Scotland

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