Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Equality website must help scrutiny of discrimination

21 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Equality and Human Rights spokesperson, South Down MLA Caitríona Ruane has welcomed the launch of a new NISRA Equality research and information website and said that it must lead to more effective scrutiny of the levels of discrimination within our society.

Ms Ruane said:

"The bringing together of informational and research in relation to equality within this single site is a useful step forward in helping to have proper scrutiny of the impact of policy and decision making on different groups within our society.

"Great inequality and discrimination across the many fracture lines in our society still exist within the Six Counties.

"The serious problem of discrimination against Catholics remains a problem not least within areas such as the senior levels of the civil service. But there are also serious barriers faced by people on the grounds of racial origin, sexual orientation, gender, disability, socio-economic background and age.

"It is vital that discrimination, in all its forms is effectively tackled.

"Within the Good Friday Agreement there are explicit commitments to eradicate the differential that exists between the Catholic and Protestant communities here. There has not been the progress demanded. Catholic men are still twice as likely to be unemployed as their Protestant counterparts. The failure, six years on from the Good Friday Agreement, to tackle this key issue is a disgrace and is totally unacceptable.

"Such facts highlight the reality that we a still living with the legacy of policies that discriminated, particularly against Catholics and areas West of the Bann in the past and that in some cases are still very much active today." ENDS

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