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Funding disparity requires investigation

16 September, 2004

Sinn Féin West Belfast Assembly Member Fra McCann has obtained figures from Belfast City Council, which show a substantial disparity in funding allocated to community centres in nationalist areas in comparison to those in unionist areas. Cllr McCann is now considering lodging a formal complaint of discrimination with the Equality Commission over the allocation of funding in the Belfast City Council area.

Cllr McCann said:

"For years unionists have propagated the myth that the vast majority of community based funding is allocated to nationalist areas. These figures show this is definitely not the case and vast swathes of working Catholic working class communities are left without any funding. In comparative terms, unionist community centres receive significantly more funding than centres located in nationalist districts.

"If the allocation of funding is not remedied then I will be advising nationalist community workers to consult with the Equality Committee with a view to instigating action against Belfast City Council. Cllr Chris McGimpsey may view this issue as a 'red heron' but the figures don't lie. The Community based centre in the Ardoyne ward for example, receives about £35,000 less funding than the Hammer Community Centre on the Shankill.

"Vast stretches of nationalist areas are without any community provision. There is also a significant prima facie case of discrimination in relation to the amount of funding devoted to community centres in unionist areas as opposed to nationalist areas. It is important that this disparity is rectified and that community funding throughout Belfast is proportionate and equitable." ENDS

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