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British attacked over move to down-grade Equality Commission - Adams

26 March, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP, MLA has today called on the British government to reverse its decision to "down-grade the status of the Equality Commission by advertising for a part-time Chief Commissioner".

The Sinn Féin President said the decision represented "a retrograde move by the British government away from the Good Friday Agreement".

He said; "If successful this would undermine yet another key mechanism of the Good Friday Agreement at a time when the Commission requires additional, not less support to fulfil its role in combating inequalities across our society."

Mr. Adams added:

"I have written to British Minister John Spellar calling on him to halt the current recruitment process and to re-advertise for a full-time Chief Commissioner.

"I also pointed out that British government assertions in the public advertisement - which claimed that the Equality Commission had now made „enough progress‰ to justify the post becoming part-time is totally at variance with the facts. These reveal that inequality across all the social and economic indicators continues to detrimentally affect our society, and in particular the nationalist section of our people.

"The scale and depth of inequality, sectarianism and racism are major challenges which must be confronted. While some progress has been made it is not enough to justify this disgraceful move by the British government.

"Much remains to be done to build equality and eradicate sectarianism and racism. This requires a concerted and comprehensive approach, backed by long-term strategies and sufficient resources to tackle these problems.

The British government‚s decision will be welcome news to those who see the equality agenda as a threat. It must be reversed."ENDS

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