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Anger at secrecy surrounding Rural Planning Public meetings

26 April, 2006


Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff has accused the Department of Regional Development of making it harder for people participate in the consultation over PPS 14, the draft proposals on Rural Planning amid fears that the department is engaged in a phoney consultation process.

Mr McElduff said:

"The department are holding a series of public workshops on their draft planning proposals. Yet, it is more of a treasure hunt than a open consultation process. Instead of publicly advertising the date, time and venue for these public meetings, people are being asked to phone the department to give an 'expression of interest'.

"I know of no other consultation process where public meetings have been surrounded with this level of secrecy.

"The issue of rural planning and the approach of the department and British direct rule ministers will have a huge impact on the future of rural communities across the Six Counties. There are genuine fears that this is a phoney consultation process. The fact that PPS 14 has already come into affect ahead well ahead of the June 9th close of the consultation adds to this perception.

"Sinn Féin will be holding a series of public meetings across the Six Counties to ensure that people can make their voices heard. This is too important an issue to let British ministers get away with ignoring the views and the rights of the thousands of people who live in rural areas who want to build a sustainable future for their communities."ENDS

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