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Margaret Ritchie has got the money, now she needs to act – Ní Chuilín

7 July, 2009 - by Carál Ní Chuilín

Sinn Féin MLA for north Belfast and member of the Social Development Committee Carál Ní Chuilín has welcomed the fact that the Minister for Social Development has received an added £20 million for the development of social housing and to implement outstanding Egan schemes across the north.

Speaking after a special sitting of the Assembly this afternoon Ms Ní Chuilín said;

“Firstly I welcome the fact that the Minister has received this additional funding for the further development of social housing as well as the retention of much needed Egan contracts across the Six Counties.

Both issues are things that Sinn Fein has been lobbying the Minister on for some time; it appeared that the Minister was content to throw in the towel and leave people either languishing on the housing waiting list or indeed subjecting them to substandard conditions in the homes the lived in.

Egan contract, housing maintenance and disability adaptations are being cried out for by citizens right across the north. Not only will they benefit but the additional work will help to stimulate the suffering construction industry here.

I am delighted that the Executive as a whole has not given up on this important matter in quite the same way as the Minister, but has secured additional funding and made it available to Margaret Ritchie thereby ensuring she implements these necessary schemes.

The Minister must also utilise the extra money for social housing in a sensible and professional way, based on value for money for us all. We have seen examples recently where the Minister has purchased homes ‘off the shelf’ that has proved very poor in terms of value for money. One example shows that the Department spent over £1 million for six homes. This simply is not good enough and must be improved upon in the time ahead.” CRÍOCH

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