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PfG path-breaking move towards government of the people by the people - Anderson

28 January, 2008

Sinn Féin equality Spokesperson, Martina Anderson MLA (Foyle) has described the equality measures contained in the Programme for Government and Investment Strategy as a potential path-breaking experiment towards government of the people by the people.

Ms Anderson said:

"It is a process that emanates directly from the objectives established by the Programme for Government:

"to address poverty and disadvantage, and to build a fairer and more equitable society",

and to make

"A commitment to use prosperity to tackle disadvantage and to build a tolerant, inclusive and stable society".

"The Executive could, of course, pay lip service to those objectives. However, the statutory requirement of equality impact assessments (EQIAs) and the requirement of consultation with the people holds the potential to make real those ideals, allowing all to have their say and to influence outcomes.

"Each departmental Committee will be subject to scrutiny and ongoing monitoring and review, set against equality criteria. Without monitoring and measuring outcomes or equality impact assessments, the Programme for Government, investment strategy and Budget become futile.

"We know that unless we measure the impacts that policies, programmes and projects have on disadvantage and discrimination and therefore, on changing outcomes in places such as the Fountain, Bogside and other areas of high deprivation, we will not succeed in making a difference to people's lives.

"The commitment given by the First Minister on OFMDFM's intention to carry out a full equality impact assessment, and, in future, to allocate monitoring rounds on the basis of objective need, is a welcome development. I have no doubt that civic society will respond to the 12-week consultation and take ownership of the process." ENDS

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