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DSD review strangling Neighbourhood Renewal

9 October, 2008

Sinn Féin Mla for North Belfast, Carál Ní Chuilín, along with several other Sinn Fein MLA's and City Councillors are to attend an emergency meeting in NICVA today attended by groups who are currently affected by the decision by the Minister for Social Development, Margaret Ritchie, to review the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme.

Speaking today Ms ní Chuilín said:

"The Minister for Social Development is currently conducting a review in Neighbourhood Renewal. During this the funding for groups who are working within the neighbourhood renewal programme have effectively been frozen. This has left many groups in a crisis. The funding and groups budgets have been previously agreed and now we have the case where no such funding is coming into these budgets.

"It is essential that interim funding is delivered from Margaret Ritchie otherwise there is a very real danger that within the next two weeks service and jobs will be lost. Currently the review is strangling Neighbourhood Renewal.

"This decision to review and hold back funding is political interference and will bring hardship to communities who can least afford it. Communities need to be supported, not placed under immense scrutiny in helping people who are working with some of the most vulnerable in society." CRÍOCH

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