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Equality at the heart of public administration shake-up

22 November, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Review of Public Administration, South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey has said that the proposals announced today represent a major step forward in enshrining the principles of equality and power sharing in new local government structures.

Mr Maskey said:

"Sinn Féin made it clear to the British government that unless there were strong and effective legal mechanisms to enshrine the principles of equality and power sharing that the proposals on public administration would be a non starter. It is clear that the British government has accepted Sinn Féin's arguments on this. We need to now see how it is delivered.

"It is Sinn Fein's view that the seven council model is the fairest because it:

· Effectively protects all minority communities within any new council areas because in every council the 'minority' community would be at least 25%;

"Democratic accountability, equality and diversity are the necessary corner stones of a future approach to the delivery of education. Sinn Fein will scrutinise the Review recommendations to ensure that these core principles are protected."

Sinn Féin health spokesperson John O'Dowd MLA said, in an initial response to the re-structuring of the health service:

"Without doubt, there has been a need for a major-restructuring of the health service in the North to ensure that we what have will be a health service that will be both patient led and responsive to patient need.

"The experience of lengthy waiting lists, the multiple layers of unnecessary bureaucracy and the inequalities in health which have been proven to exist in the North, and which have increased under the present system show clearly that the system was failing those for whom it was originally designed to help." ENDS

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