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Objective need alone must govern allocation of funding in Six Counties

7 October, 2005


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has welcomed Dermot Ahern's agreement that objective need is the only criterion that should be used to govern the allocation of funding to communities in the Six Counties. After questioning from Deputy Ó Snodaigh in the Dáil last night Minister Ahern agreed that "objective criteria should be used." However Deputy Ó Snodaigh was highly critical of the Minister's assertion that discrimination against Nationalists had been "all but eliminated as a result of the legislation now in place".

Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "I welcome the fact that the Minister has agreed with me that objective need should be the only criterion governing the allocation of funding to communities and informing equality building measures. This was stipulated in the Good Friday Agreement.

"But by asserting that discrimination against Nationalists has been 'all but eliminated as a result of the legislation now in place' the Minister is showing a complete lack of understanding of the situation. He is clearly blind to inequality and blind to discrimination. It is naïve to suggest that the existence of anti-discrimination legislation translates into the disappearance of discrimination.

"He is unfortunately giving credit to the false excuse given by Loyalists for their most recent violent sectarian campaign, where they claim that they are the ones being discriminated against.

"The Minster should look at the most recent statistics published by the British authorities. They give a full list, area by area with an indicator by indicator on every one of them. Those communities regarded as Catholic and nationalist are less well off than their counterparts in loyalist or Protestant areas. I have offered to give the Minister a copy of these statistics. I would encourage him to read them carefully." ENDS

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