Politicians to be quizzed on ethnic issues

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UPPER Bann MLAs and Craigavon Councillors are to be quizzed on issues affecting black and ethnic minorities including hate crime and welfare issues.

Organised by the All Party Group on Ethnic Minorities, the event is to facilitate members of the community to raise questions and issues that impact on their lives.

Topics such as access to English classes, policing issues, migrant workers and racial equality issues are expected to be on the agenda.

Chaired by local businessman, Charlie Gardiner, the organising body hopes the event will create some debate and dialogue on issues affecting the black and ethnic minority communities.

It is set to take place on Friday 12 April from 6pm - 8pm at the Brownlow Hub in Craigavon.

It will be a panel discussion. All MLAs and local councillors have been invited.

Danny Kinahan (UUP), who is the Chair of the All Party Group on Ethnic Minority Communities is also expected to attend.

“This event, a follow-up to the successful pilot initiative in June 2012, aims to create a space for black and minority ethnic (BME) communities, often marginalized and underrepresented in politics and in society, to speak directly to their local representatives on important issues that affect their lives,” said a spokesperson for the organisers.

Mid-Ulster Development Officer, Mark Caffrey, who is based on Lurgan, is working closely with local BME community groups (the main invitees) in the area to develop topics and questions for the event.