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Ritchie approach to homelessness the same as direct rule Ministers

12 November, 2007


Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said that Housing Minister Margaret Ritchie is falling into the same trap as former British direct rule Minister David Hanson when it comes to saying what she is going to do about the social housing crisis in the North of Ireland and in Derry City Council area.

Mr McCartney said:

"The debate at the Assembly last week on the homeless crisis in the Derry was important as was the total support of all MLA's in the Assembly for the need of more social housing.

"Sinn Féin has repeatedly called for a review into social housing supply and the housing allocation points system. These are two pressing issues that must be a dealt with.

"However the response of the Minister was disappointing top say the least. Year after year new build targets are not being met and unless a new approach is developed the gap between demand and supply will continue to grow.

"The Minister said that the Housing Executive Assessment for the Derry City Council area is that 1,050 new social housing units are needed by 2011 but that only 850 are planned for the city. The fact is after Springtown Road, Oakland Park and the 8 social houses that are under constriction in the Greater Shantallow area there is nothing in new builds on social housing in this city.

"This is the type of issue that our party will attempt to deal with through the 'Stand Up For Derry' campaign that was recently launched by Sinn Féin. It is important that people get behind the campaign and support it so that Derry does not remain second class in terms of investment whether be it through the Assembly or industrial development.

"The figures we get from the DSD Department do not accept the reality of lack of social housing especially in the North West and are falling into the same propaganda emitted by Direct rule Ministers by hiding the true facts of homeless in the North of Ireland." ENDS

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