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UUP proposals on tackling poverty in loyalist areas criticised

15 March, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Kathy Stanton today said that UUP proposals to tackle poverty in loyalist working class areas were flawed, sectarian and clearly put together by a party out of touch with the realities on the ground.

Ms Stanton said:

"It should be the objective of all political parties to tackle deprivation and poverty wherever it arises. Deprivation and poverty undoubtedly exists in unionist working class communities, as it does in nationalist and republican working class communities. This disadvantage will not be tackled by political parties attempting to approach the issue along sectarian and partisan lines.

"Poverty and deprivation can only be tackled on the basis of need. It cannot be done on the basis of perception or on the whim of a political party like the UUP seeking a headline after decades of ignoring loyalist working class areas and placing them in the clutches of unionist paramilitary drug dealers.

"Some of the proposals in this document from the UUP were clearly dreamed up be people completely out of touch with the reality within working class communities or by people trying to use those communities to advance a political agenda. People need to ask the question of the UUP just how the British government changing its approach to Community Restorative Justice schemes in nationalist areas tackles deprivation within the loyalist working class, as appears in their proposals, or ending what they describe as concessions to republicans.

"If the UUP were serious about this issue then they firstly would robustly deal with the issue of unionist paramilitary drug dealing and activity by the very gangs they sit alongside on the loyalist commission, or they would move away from trying to play the sectarian card when putting forward proposals on tackling deprivation and poverty." ENDS

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