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DUP accused of distorting spending and disadvantage figures

8 August, 2003

Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has accused the DUP's Gregory Campbell of playing a dangerous game by distorting the reality of spending ands disadvantage figures.

Ms Gildernew said:

"Gregory is playing a dangerous game by distorting these figures. He is feeding into a sectarian analysis of need. The reality is that the Irish language is more widely used than Ulster Scots with 10% of the population having a knowledge of Irish. There has also been an explosion in the popularity of Irish medium education. In sport, in terms of both participation and support, Gaelic games have a substantial and growing popularity.

"Gregory also quotes selectively from a recent report into the allocation of European funding. 56% of its three-year budget went to nationalist areas precisely because there is a greater objective need largely as a result of discrimination. Gregory also fails to mention the fact that Catholics are still more likely to be unemployed and suffer greater deprivation.

"As for the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, if the British government stopped obstructing the search for truth and opened the files then progress would be relatively quick and the costs greatly reduced.

"Instead of admitting that Unionism, through its political power and the use of violence, has created division and structural discrimination against Catholics Gregory is feeding the myth that somehow the Peace Process discriminates against Protestants. This is untrue.

"The DUP would serve their own community better if they were honest with them. It is time for the DUP to recognise that there must be economic development and investment in areas of greatest need allowing communities, whether nationalist or unionist, to receive help commensurate with the level of need they experience. This will assure everyone that decisions will be taken on the basis of objective need." ENDS

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