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Auditor General to investigate £1.8m of rates relief to Hillview site – Ní Chuilín

9 March, 2018 - by Carál Ní Chuilín

Sinn Féin MLAs Gerry Kelly and Carál Ní Chuilín have handed a dossier to the Auditor and Controller General Kieren Donnelly to investigate why £1.8m of rates relief has been  awarded to the owners of a site where an illegal market operates.

And Carál Ní Chuilín said the Sinn Féin delegation has asked Kieran Donnelly to meet the Participation and Practice of Rights group (PPR) and Ardoyne residents to discuss the dossier and claims that the Housing Executive effectively gave the DUP a veto over social housing in North Belfast.

Caral Ní Chuilín said:

“In May 2014 the North Belfast Housing Association expressed an interest in building social homes and a mix of retail units on this 13-acre site.

“A month later the Housing Executive, which has a statutory Section 75 duty to build homes without discrimination, ruled that ‘political and community agreement’ was needed to build houses on the site.

“This effectively gave the DUP a veto over the building of homes.

“Sinn Féin has raised this failure by the Housing Executive to meet its statutory obligations with the Department of Communities.

“Sinn Féin has also made formal complaints to the Housing Executive and the Equality and Human Rights Commissions.

“Gerry Kelly and I presented the Auditor and Controller General with a dossier on the history of the Hillview/Crumlin Road site. 

“We have asked him to investigate why £1.8m of rates relief was awarded for charitable purposes on the site when there is an illegal market, with no licence, operating under the watch of all the statutory agencies. “We have also asked Kieran Donnelly to meet the PPR group and residents from Ardoyne to investigate what is in our opinion a unionist veto over much-needed building to tackle homelessness.” 

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