Sinn Féin - On Your Side

New figures reinforce concerns about composition and agenda of NIO

7 February, 2006

Sinn Féin Equality and Human Rights Spokesperson, South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane has said that figures released today by Direct Rule Minister Shaun Woodward on where NIO staff are based reinforces Sinn Féin's concerns about the composition and agenda of the NIO.

Ms Ruane said:

"Sinn Féin have voiced huge concern about the composition of the NIO and particularly the fact that less than 1 in 4 core departmental staff are Catholic.

"The huge disparities in where civil service are based reinforce these concerns. The fact that 1,414 out of 1,828 or over 77% of NIO staff are based in Belfast suggests a huge Belfast bias. Within Belfast only 3 are based in West Belfast.

"If East Antrim, Lagan Valley, East Derry, North Down and Strangford and Belfast are looked together over 94% or 1,723 staff are based in these constituencies. This means that only 105 NIO staff are based within the other 9 constituencies. Only 1 member of NIO staff is based within my own South Down constituency.

"Many people would ask if it is any wonder that when key decisions are taken by the NIO that nationalist constituencies and West of the Bann are the areas that can be seen to lose out time and time again.

"Sinn Féin have argued that there is an imperative to decentralise the civil service, not just because of the economic impact but also because of the impact on decision making. These figures reinforce the general argument about the need for decentralisation but also reinforce specific concerns that Sinn Féin have about the NIO in terms of composition and its agenda." ENDS

Note to Editors

Parliamentary constituency Number of staff
Belfast East 690
Belfast North 49
Belfast South 672
Belfast West 3
East Antrim 172
East Londonderry 66
Fermanagh and South Tyrone 1
Foyle 7
Lagan Valley 107
Mid Ulster 1
Newry and Armagh 2
North Antrim 1
North Down 11
South Antrim 1
South Down 1
Strangford 19
Upper Bann 3
West Tyrone 22
Total 1,828
The above figures include NI civil service and Home civil service staff,
industrial and non-industrial, permanent and temporary staff but not staff
currently on career break, uniform Prison Service staff or Youth Justice
Agency social workers at 1 January 2005.

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