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Minister Ritchie should return to local government - McCann

27 November, 2007

Responding to a barrage of stories eminating from the Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie, Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Fra McCann has said that the scaremongering must stop, the Minister should announce what, if any, positive moves she shall make and if she is under pressure she should return to local government.

Mr McCann said:

"The Minister's department has been spoonfeeding the media and claiming there may be a 50% cut in the Warm Homes Scheme, no new social housing next year and that the Housing Executive budget may be cut also.

"If, as she claims, she is forced to cut these things then what exactly does she intend to do with her budget?

"Minister Ritchie's budget has risen since 2001. The Social Development department is now fourth in terms of department allocation. Therefore if she goes ahead with what she has been claiming to the media then she shall have a massive underspend in her budget.

"Minister Ritchie should start showing leadership and initiative. Six months have passed and little direction has been shown.

"Her scare tactics must stop, she should stop blaming the executive and Sinn Féin and should realise her responsibilities as Minister and if the pressure is too much she should return to local government." Críoch

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