Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Refusal to extend Equality consultation flies in the face of commonsense

3 August, 2005



Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Poverty, North Belfast MLA Kathy Stanton has
criticised the refusal of British direct rule Ministers to extend the
deadline for consultation on a key Equality policy - New Targeting Social
Need and said that it flies in the face of the recommendations of its two of
own experts dealing with equality.

Ms Stanton said:

"Sinn Féin formally requested that British Ministers extend the deadline for
the consultation on New Targeting Social Need until after the summer holiday
period.

"The summer months represent a very busy time for community activists,
particularly in North Belfast. These are people who are best placed to give
an informed first hand contribution on how we need to take forward New TSN
policy.

"The British government has failed, to date, to deliver on its commitments
to advance the Equality Agenda. This is because there has not been effective
implementation of existing equality approaches, such as New TSN. The has
resulted in little impact on the ground in tackling inequality,
disadvantage, discrimination and poverty.

"The refusal to extend the consultation on this crucial equality policy
further highlights the lack of political will on the part of the British
government and its civil servants to take its commitments on delivery
seriously.

"It also flies in the face of the recommendations of the governments' own
appointed reviewers of section 75, Professor Eithne McLaughlin and Neil
Faris, that major consultations like New TSN should not be carried out
during the summer months when key stakeholders are scarce on the ground.

"There is a clear onus now on the British government to begin to take
forward its responsibility to deliver on the Equality Agenda. There can be
no excuses and no half measures. The Equality Agenda has not been a success
because of a lack of political will and because the policies meant to take
it forward have not been effectively implemented. There is now, more than at
any other period in the peace process, a compelling expectation that there
will be a new emphasis on delivering this part of the Good Friday
Agreement." ENDS



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