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Community relations scheme branded ‘empty rhetoric’

19 August, 2008 - by Carál Ní Chuilín

Sinn Féin Social Development Spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Carál Ní Chuilín commenting on the statement from the Minister Margaret Ritchie has said that there is nothing new in the announcement and challenged the Minister to begin to do something about the housing crisis facing thousands of people across the north.

Ms Ní Chuilín said:

"Sadly there is nothing new in this announcement today. We have heard it all before.

"I think what people want to hear from the Minister is what is she going to do about the housing crisis that is affecting thousands of people right across the north.

"The Minister's approach to shared housing while deeply well meaning totally ignores the real housing issues facing us.

"Mortgage repossessions have increased by almost 60%. The levels of homelessness are at all time record highs. There are not enough social houses being built; the Shared Equity Scheme has collapsed; and there are major problems with the non-regulation of the private rented sector.

"On all of these issues we have heard fine words from the Minister but what people are still waiting for is a plan of action to actually tackle the scale of the problem.

"People don't need empty rhetoric or false hope they need a strategy to deal with the housing crisis and a long-term approach to tackling the divisions within our society that require a lot more than one or two mixed housing estates." ENDS

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