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Hain warned over abandoning those most in need

31 January, 2006

Sinn Féin General Secretary Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has warned British Secretary of State Peter Hain against abandoning those most in need in favour of a Whitehall driven privatisation and budget cutting agenda.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"The bottom line is that local politicians should be the people driving forward the agenda of change not British direct rule ministers.

"While there are a few positive elements in today's far ranging developments the fact is that the agenda is been driven by the British Exchequer.

"The prioritisation of renewable energy, children and young people and skills is clearly essential but we must not blindly abandon those most in need within our society.

"As Peter Hain pushes forward with this agenda there are a number of key facts he would do well to remember.

  • The Barnett Formula - has increasingly disadvantaged us
  • Peace Dividend - is part of negotiations
  • Transfer of expenditure on British war machine could generate significant resources to support public expenditure
  • There is a clear commitment to Target Need
  • Section 75 requirements under the equality legislation
  • There is legacy of under funding - infrastructure, health, education needs to be addressed
  • The legacy of discrimination - West of the Bann, unemployment differential still needs to be addressed

"At the heart of an appraisal of how we should be moving forward is a recognition that the 6 county state is unsustainable. This Peter Hain clearly recognises. We now need to recognise that a Irish Unity benefits both the north and the south and that we need a more urgent focus on the harmonisation of economic and development regimes." ENDS

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