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Maskey - End era of quangos

21 March, 2006


Sinn Fein Spokesperson on the Review of Public Administration, South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey has said that reduction in the number of quangos is a requirement for bringing about a democratic society. However he added that councils should not be given the power to allocate housing.

Mr Maskey said:

"Sinn Féin have led the demand for an end to the era of quangos. The reduction in the number of quangos is a requirement for bringing about a democratic society. We need a substantial reduction in the number of quangos. The work of quangos should be under democratic control either through the assembly or local government.

"The challenge for people is to see the political institutions reinstated
and strong local government built on the most stringent equality measures
possible that deliver democratic accountability and an end to all forms of
discrimination.

"Today's announcement does not, as claimed, cut through quangoland. Some of the changes are commonsense, many are administrative. Sinn Féin want to see a much greater transfer of power to local government but only within the context of functioning institutions and strong equality protections.

"There must be cast iron checks and balances to ensure equality and that there would no return to the sectarian abuse of powers by unionists that led to many powers being stripped from councils in the first place.

Commenting on the future of the Housing Executive Mr Maskey said:

"Sinn Féin believe that there is role for the Housing Executive as a regional and strategic body that ensures that there is a common housing policy, is responsible for allocation and making sure that we are building enough social housing to meet need. While there is strong argument for councils to have a greater role in housing it will be a long time before
nationalists will trust unionists with powers of housing provision or allocation." ENDS





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