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Margaret Ritchie engaged in political posturing and headline chaisng over CTI funding

30 April, 2009 - by John O'Dowd

Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd has criticised Margaret Ritchie’s attitude to today’s court ruling that her decision to block funding to the loyalist CTI was wrong,  branding the entire process as an exercise of political posturing and headline chasing.

Speaking today Mr O’Dowd said: 

“This judgement has confirmed that Margaret Ritchie was engaged in a shabby exercise of political posturing and headline chasing. The Ministers response to the ruling, that she would do the same again, is arrogant and highlights that she has not learnt from her mistakes.

“Sinn Féin made clear at the time that it was a fundamental mistake to link money for loyalist communities to the behaviour of the UDA.  That remains our position.  The UDA should not be given public money under any circumstances. 

“Margaret Ritchie’s attempt to use money which should have been used to address social deprivation in disadvantaged areas as a bribe for the UDA means that areas of high need have been starved of the funding to address poverty and build community infrastructure.

“Margaret Ritchie, like other Ministers on the Executive, has a responsibility to tackle disadvantage and inequalities.  This requires her to base decisions around the allocation of public funds on objective need and not her own narrow party political headline chasing agenda.”

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