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Motion flawed

28 January, 2009 - by Gerry Kelly

Gerry Kelly has described an Alliance motion, which claimed work on a shared future is being marginalised, as flawed and fails to recognise reality.

Speaking during yesterday's Private Members Motion on the Cohesion, Sharing and Integration (CSI) policy, the Junior Minister said the goal of a shared and better future for all was too important to play party politics with.

"The motion claimed the vision of a shared and better future for everyone no longer matters to OFMDFM Ministers. I refuted this in the strongest possible terms. It is inaccurate, ill informed and untrue.

"This is too important an issue for party politics. I believe the motion failed to recognise the good work that has been undertaken and disregarded those who we have supported," said Junior Minister Kelly.

"We have increased our budget for good relations by a third to almost £30million. Far from marginalising this work, we have increased support to this area.

"Funding to support the integration of minority ethnic groups into communities increased by 66% from £600,000 in 2007 to £1million in 2008 and will continue at £1million for 2009. Again, the proposers focused on playing party politics and did not reflect reality.

"Targeted resources for on-the-ground projects for young people to prevent them being drawn into interface disturbances over the summer months have increased to £500,000 in 2008.

Mr Kelly said that while real progress has been made in recent years there were still challenges ahead.

"Our job is to resource and empower people who are working for the benefit of their communities, whether they are in Dungannon, Craigavon or across North Belfast. The 'good relations indicators' show very positive improvements in a range of issues, however we still face clear challenges.

"Real progress is being made and our society is being transformed. We will continue to challenge and support our communities to become places where all people, can live, work, rest and socialise in the context of respect, acceptance, safety and freedom from violence.

"Our work and delivery on the ground speaks for itself. Promoting equality and good relations are central to our work in OFMDFM." concluded Mr Kelly.

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