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Immediate action needed by Margaret Ritchie to save Neighbourhood Renewal

10 October, 2008


Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast, Carál Ní Chuilín has stated that immediate action is needed from the Minister for Social Development, Margaret Ritchie, in order to save the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme.

Speaking today Ms ní Chuilin said:

"At yesterdays emergency meeting in NICVA the message for over 100 representatives of local communities was clear. Margaret Ritchie needs to act, and act now to save vital services and jobs in the Neighbourhood renewal programmes.

"Margaret Ritchie's decision to review the Neighbourhood Renewal programme at this stage is placing more strain on socially deprived communities, communities that are already under immense pressure. The projects in these areas are facing meltdown if the Minister does not act. The reality is people have not been paid since the end of August.

"It is essential that funding is delivered from Margaret Ritchie otherwise there is a very real danger that within the next week key services and jobs will be lost. Currently the review is strangling Neighbourhood Renewal. The Minister must realise that those delivering this programme are at crisis point.

"We would all need to be given an assurance that the Department for Social Development will move on this issue. On top of this there needs to be commitment fro Margaret Ritchie on long term support for the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme.

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