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Orange Hall measures lack Equality

14 October, 2008

Sinn Féin Assembly member Raymond McCartney today said that measures being proposed by the British government to deal with attacks on Orange Halls needed to have an Equality Impact Assessment carried out on them. Mr McCartney's remarks came after NIO proposals aimed at making compensation claims for Orange Halls easier came before an Ad Hoc Stormont committee.

Mr McCartney says:

"In recent years there have been a number of attacks on community halls, businesses and people's homes. All have encountered difficulties in obtaining the necessary certificates from the PSNI to enable compensation claims to be processed. In some cases individuals have lost their homes and have not been compensated.

"At today's meeting a report into NIO proposals aimed at making compensation claims for damaged Orange Halls easier were presented. These measures have not been subject to an Equality Impact Assessment. If they were then it is my belief that significant inequalities with the proposals would be exposed.

"Much like the measures brought forward by the British Government a number of years ago, giving rate relief to Orange Halls, these latest measures lack basic equality provisions.

"All halls and sporting and cultural bodies should be subject to the same regulations. It is unacceptable to elevate the Orange Order and their needs over other groups or individuals. Community, church, sporting or cultural premises damaged in attacks should all be subject to the same compensation arrangements." ENDS

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