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Dolores Kelly's comments on neighbourhood renewal need to retracted

17 September, 2008

Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast Carál Ni Chuilín has slammed the SDLP's Dolores Kelly's remarks in the assembly on Tuesday which insinuate that Neighbourhood Renewal programmes were there as nothing more than 'jobs for the boys and girls' in Sinn Féin.

Speaking today Ms Ni Chuilin said:

"Dolores Kelly's comments yesterday regarding that Neighbourhood Renewal positions are nothing more than 'jobs for the boys' and girls' in Sinn Féin are completely unacceptable and need retracted immediately.

"By flippantly citing an example in her own constituency Ms Kelly implicates that neighbourhood renewal panels are stacked, unprofessional and manipulated by local community and voluntary groups for short term gains and goals.

"Dolores Kelly, while attempting to score cheap political points has compromised the integrity of
the integrity, professionalism and dedication of neighbourhood renewal panels, their composition and in effect the Department of Social Development in the delivery of this programme.

"Dolores Kelly needs to revaluate her entire approach to dealing with the community and voluntary sector as a result of these comments. Her unrelenting disrespect for Sinn Féin, its voters and now the community sector has caused her to make these groundless and spurious remarks.

"Dolores Kelly has clearly lost the run of herself to make such suggestions in the middle of an Assembly Debate. She has diminished the hard work and genuine concern of so many community based workers and community and voluntary activists."

Note to Editors:
The motion was:
That this Assembly calls on the Minister for Social Development to ensure that the Department retains lead responsibility for Neighbourhood Renewal, now and in the future, to ensure that social deprivation is tackled in our communities and there is joined-up delivery
The Result was:
Sinn Féin had the motion passed 48/32. The SDLP abstained from the vote.

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