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‘Opponents of change’ slammed

1 October, 2007

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has accused elements within the Civil Service of hampering progress towards lasting peace and prosperity here by undermining the Equality Agenda..

Ms Anderson said:

"Ever since the restoration of the political institutions, Sinn Fein has been working tirelessly to create real and meaningful change in the lives of our people. Key to this work is the issue of public investment where, for instance, we are determined to secure the establishment of procurement guidelines which would see social contracts built into every public spending project.

"Billions of pounds in public money is due to be spent over the coming years and it's easy to imagine what a difference it would make if this money was used to help those who need it most. It's important to realise that no Pound, Dollar or Euro is spent neutrally. It will either help maintaining the status quo or help redress disadvantage

"Take the Derry to Dublin road for example. It's not just about building a new motorway. We want to see apprenticeships being created. We want to see unemployed people being given the opportunity to get back into work.

"However, people should be aware of the resistance from elements of the system.

"There would appear to be an army of civil servants there who are opposed to any change in the status quo. They seem to have worked damn hard over the decades to maintain inequalities and to preserve their own privileged position.

"There is little evidence that they want change or meaningful equality because they see that as a threat to their own power and privilege. That is why the gap in terms of prosperity has actually widened since the advent of the peace process and the simple fact is that the rich have got richer while the poor have got poorer.

"But, we in Sinn Fein are committed to changing that reality and we will continue to confront those who are opposed to change. In the Assembly, the all-Ireland bodies and the Good Friday Agreement, we have the tools to ensure that people's lives can be changed. We are determined to do that and to ensure that peace and prosperity delivers for all our people - not just a privileged few." ENDS

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