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When is Margaret Ritchie going to stop blaming everyone else? – Fra McCann

15 February, 2009

Speaking after Margaret Ritchie's desperate attempts at shirking her Ministerial responsibilities in relation to the social house building programme, Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Fra McCann MLA has called on the Minister to tell us what measures she is putting in place to meet her targets.

Speaking this afternoon Mr McCann said,

"On today's Politics Show we saw very clearly what the Minister's effective plan for meeting her housing targets are. That is that there isn't one.

"Instead of facing up to the difficult challenges of government Margaret Ritchie again decided to engage is a spell of blaming everyone else. Sinn Féin has been to the fore of the DSD committee calling for ways to implement an effective and practical housing scheme for the benefit of those citizens languishing on waiting lists. However we also realise the practicalities of having to make cuts elsewhere. Margaret Ritchie is a Minister in the Executive; she has a duty of care to the people who are waiting on homes, instead of rhetoric we need to hear what measures she plans to put in place to meet her obligations as a Minister.

"Margaret Ritchie and her SDLP colleagues keep telling us that this house building scheme can stimulate the economy and create jobs. We know all of this but what we now want to see is it actually happening as opposed to the Minister buying homes off the shelf which have already been built by numerous private developers. This in no way helps to stimulate the construction industry.

"The Minister, again attempting to shirk her responsibilities, further called for a change in the budget (to which she agreed) priorities. If this is what she wants then how does she suggest going about it? What school or hospital does she want to close? Lets get one thing straight and that is that Margaret Ritchie is either going to fail to deliver the homes she promised or finally decide to become imaginative and tackle this issue head on, she is the Minister, that is her job." CRÍOCH

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