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Poverty must be addressed fairly - Public money must be allocated on basis of need

20 September, 2006

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Equality and Human Rights Caitriona Ruane MLA commenting on the announcement of £500,000 from DSD for regeneration of the Kilcooley Estate ahead of a further £10million housing redevelopment for the area and an £8 million regeneration project of four acres of derelict land at Ravenhill Reach/Ormeau Embankment in East Belfast has said that it is essential that public money is allocated on the basis of need, and need alone.

Ms Ruane said:

"There are a number of areas in the north that suffer from serious and sustained levels of poverty and disadvantage. The regeneration of these areas and communities should be a priority. However, it is essential that government departments do not sectarianise poverty because. Poverty must be addressed fairly.

"Sinn Féin obviously wants to see public money being invested into deprived areas whether they are loyalist or nationalist. But it is essential that such funds are allocated on the basis of objective need not political expediency.

"In recent times there has been a justifiable concern that the NIO have adopted a policy towards investing public money into certain loyalist communities at the expense of other areas where greater levels of actual need exist.

"In particular Sinn Féin have repeatedly raised concerns about the approach of the Department of Social Development to implementing policy in a fair and equal way and particularly the manipulation of criteria on objective need.

"If people are to have confidence in the administration of public money then it is vital that the process of allocating such funds is transparent and driven by economic and social realities not the whims of political expediency within the NIO system." ENDS

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