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DUP challenged to support representative workforce in Civil Service

9 March, 2006

Sinn Féin's Equality and Human Rights Spokesperson, Caitríona Ruane MLA has called on DUP MLA Gregory Campbell to support the efforts of Sinn Féin and others to ensure that the Civil Service and workplaces throughout the North are balanced and representative.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson was responding to Gregory Campbell‚s claim that Protestant representation in the general services grades of the Civil Service was lower than for Catholics and that in addition protestants were under represented in administration areas.

Ms Ruane said:

"Sinn Féin is determined to tackle discrimination and inequality wherever it exists. Within the civil service and particularly the senior civil service grades and the NIO there continues to be problems of Catholic under representation.

"The reality is that at senior civil service grades the latest figures continue to show a very serious under representation of Catholics, with a 60% to 32% imbalance. According to Direct Rule Minister Angela Smith‚s statistics only 11 Catholics moved into the senior civil service between 1st January 2003 and 1 October 2005! It is at these senior grades and within the NIO, where less than 25% of core departmental staff are Catholic, that the key decisions on policy are made.

"The recent statistics that Mr Campbell makes reference to also do not provide evidence of 'civil service inequality being rife' to the detriment of protestants. What the recent figures yet again confirm is that the under representation of Catholics at senior grades continues.

"To try and extrapolate from the general comment that ŒProtestants have been under-representation in applications for certain general civil service grades‚ from the figures released by Angela Smith is again not evident as the statistics are not broken down by community background to give a clearer picture.

"In all areas where under-representation of particular communities or minorities occurs evidently action needs to be taken to tackle such imbalance. We therefore welcome news contained in British Minister Angela Smith‚s figures that a new outreach strategy setting out what actions will be taken to promote Civil Service careers among under-represented groups is being introduced." ENDS

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