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Equality must be the foundation of the Review of Public Administration

19 July, 2004

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on the Review of Public Administration, South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey responding to comments from British direct rule Minister Ian Pearson has expressed serious concern at the direction of the Review of Public Administration, has said that Equality must the central foundation upon which the review is built.

Mr Maskey said:

"It vital that changes to local government and public administration that comes as a result of this review are built upon the central foundation of equality. However, I am concerned at the current direction of the review that appears to be downgrading equality issues in favour of a singular focus functionality.

"People are being sidetracked by the issue of the number of councils when the focus should be on the ability of whatever we put in place of the current system of local government and public administration to address some of the very serious areas of inequality and discrimination that are still very much alive and well within the current pattern of local government. Rhetoric about efficiency cannot mask the need for equality. Quality services must be based on equal access and equal delivery.

"The review needs ensure that, in building new relationships, equality is the first issue on the agenda in addressing efficiency and effectiveness. Sinn Fein is also concerned that there should be no changes that reinforce or indeed exasperate the democratic deficit that already exists." ENDS

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