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Report on East West Divide confirms need for action

18 January, 2005

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, National Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin commenting on the publication of the twenty-fifth annual Review and Prospects for the Economy from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said that it only confirms that urgent action is required to address the East West Divide to stop the ineqaulities widening.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"The patterns of disadvantage and discrimination in policy and investment that have created and maintained the East West Divide are as evident today as at any time since the inception of this state. It is sectarian in nature and has resulted in huge deficits West of the Bann that are compounded by the border.

"It is a damming indictment that despite a clear policy objective of Targeting Social Need (TSN) since the 1990's and a large quantity of evidence highlighting the need to address patterns of disadvantage and discrimination West of the Bann that this divide is getting greater. It is evidence that the commitment to tackle inequality West of the Bann have not been taken seriously by government.

"West of the Bann unemployment is higher, investment in transport infrastructure is lower and there is an almost total local of political will from government to act to address high level of social and economic disadvantage that exists within both the urban and rural centres.

"The huge inequalities that exist cannot be explained by geography. The level of disparity and under development is a direct consequence of the absolute failure of government.

"Unless there is a decision at the heart of government to live up to clear equality commitments and obligations West of the Bann the current pattern of discrimination and disadvantage will of get much worse much faster. We need balanced development urgently. Sinn Féin believe that only within a single all-Ireland framework will balanced development be achieved." ENDS

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