Speller pressed to end Sinn Féin exclusion from Housing Executive
A Sinn Féin delegation led by Housing Spokesperson Cllr Fra McCann MLA and North Belfast MLA Kathy Stanton met with British direct rule minister John Speller to raise a number of concerns about housing including the ongoing exclusion of Sinn Féin representatives from the Housing Executive and the impact of the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (BMAP) in failing to address the housing crisis in North and West Belfast.
Speaking after the meeting West Belfast MLA Fra McCann said:
"It is unacceptable that in its' entire history that there has never been a single Sinn Fein representative on the Housing Executive board. Nationalists deserve effective representation. Sinn Fein represent the majority of nationalists, particularly in areas where there are severe housing problems.
"Sinn Fein representation is the only way to ensure that pressing housing issues such as the overhaul of housing waiting list points allocation process, the ever increasing gap between need and provision of social housing, the imbalance in the waiting lists and anti-social tenants are prioritised. The policy of exclusion must be ended.
"Sinn Fein are also very concerned at the implications of the BMAP that will fail to deliver the amount of housing needed - with roughly a 3,000 unit shortfall over the lifetime of the area plan. In north and West Belfast BMAP fails to meet housing need and there is little or no planning to co-ordinate the development of the required infrastructure with housing development. Importantly BMAP also fails to consider interface areas.
"The failure to deliver a adequate supply of social housing means that there is a failure to allocate housing on the basis of need and thousands of people are left waiting for unacceptable lengths of time before being allocated decent housing. There needs to be a radical overhaul of not just housing policy but also the policy direction of organisations such as the Housing Executive" ENDS