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O'Hagan - legislation is not sufficient to tackle structural discrimination

8 December, 2002

Sinn Féin Equality spokesperson Dr. Dara O'Hagan, speaking at a party conference on human rights and equality warned that legislation, while crucial, is not in itself sufficient to tackle structural discrimination. She said:

"While legislation is clearly necessary of itself it is not sufficient to tackle structural inequalities. To do that effectively there needs to be a co-ordinated and integrated strategy involving legislation and economic and social policies. The pro-active and urgent pursuit of an equality agenda is critical to building confidence that there is a real attempt to move forward at this time.

"Equality cannot be simply an illusion. There must be full accountability for equality measures; genuine and full participation to ensure that citizens feel their concerns are taken into account and reflected in decisions which affect them; goals and time-tables for its implementation and regular review and assessment of progress and impact.

"Sinn Féin has therefore worked through negotiations at the highest level, through ongoing campaigning to improve the delivery of the equality agenda and through our everyday work with those communities at the 'hard end' as they strive to bring about real, positive and lasting change.

"We need to see regeneration initiatives for such communities, worked out with these communities with targets and timetables for the outcomes sought."ENDS

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