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DUP accused of a blinkered approach to jobs equality

16 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Spokesperson Caitriona Ruane MLA has accessed the DUP of having a blinkered approach of jobs equality and urged all politicians to work together to ensure a strong Equality Commission can deliver workforce equality in both the public and private sector and at all levels of employment.

Ms Ruane said:

"The DUP have a track record of taking a totally blinkered approach to equality in the workforce.

"Sinn Féin have never defended inequality and it is noticeable how quick unionists, particularly the DUP, were to defend the record of Wrightbus Ltd when only 2% of applicants receiving jobs there where Catholic.

"Perhaps the biggest difficulty for Unionists like Gregory Campbell is in accepting that Catholics faced discrimination for generations. While we are now seeing progress and a greater equality within many employment sectors we still have considerable distance to travel to address issues such as the unemployment differential.

"The Equality Commission also has a responsibility to tackle discrimination on the grounds of disability, gender, sexual orientation and race.

"The call for the Equality Commission to be scrapped is unrealistic. I would also voice serious concerns about the impact it has made in tackling inequality.

"Recent political decisions taken by the NIO and British direct Rule ministers raise serious questions the equality agenda and Sinn Féin are concerned that the Equality Commission appears unwilling to raise concerns about the erosion of the equality agenda publicly with the British government.

"The Equality agenda and equality in the workforce would be far better served if politicians worked together to strengthen the Equality Commission and ensure that it does the job it was set to up to do." ENDS

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