Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Unionists must rise to challenge of local government shake-up

10 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has challenged unionists to rise to the challenge of putting equality and power sharing at the heart of local government.

Ms Gildernew said:

"The Review of Public Administration will lead to the biggest shake-up in local government for a generation. The last changes were forced upon local government because of blatant unionist discrimination.

"In many councils dominated by unionists there are still fundamental problems in relation to power sharing and equality. Again and again the Lisburns, Coleraines,Ballymenas and Castlereaghsof this world show that unionism has not stepped up to the mark in terms of equality and power sharing.

"Sinn Féin have said categorically that unless there is a cast-iron legal framework to protect and promote power-sharing and equality in the legislation to be published later this year that we will reject the changes.

"The approach of unionists in the working groups on the RPA and the re-organisation has been to try and frustrate the full realisation of the equality agenda and power-sharing. This is s mistake. What we need is the strongest legal framework that is standardised across all of the seven new councils in order to protect and promote the rights of all.

"It is a challenge for unionism. They need to demonstrate that they are committed to power sharing and equality. Unionists need to show people that they no longer want to discriminate and abuse power." ENDS

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