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McElduff seeks Robinson Intervention on Location of Public Sector Jobs

24 April, 2007


Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff has written to DUP Finance Minister Designate, Peter Robinson, calling for Omagh and other towns 'West of the Bann' to be selected to host Public Consultation workshops on the location of Public Sector jobs.

Mr McElduff has expressed his anger at the insistence of the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) that they will hold Public Consultation events in Templepatrick, Armagh and Limavady. The Sinn Fein MLA has described this situation as 'blatant discrimination, 1960s - style' and he has pledged his commitment to challenge this decision at the highest level.

Already, Mr McElduff has been in direct communication with the Chief Executive of the Equality Commission and has called for a ruling to be made on the equality implications of this decision.

Mr McElduff said

"There needs to be a pro-active approach to the decentralisation of Public Sector jobs if there is to be any notion of fairness or delivery of equality. I have requested that DFP should host more Public Consultation workshops, West of the Bann, so that everyone in the North has an equal chance to air their views. I am convinced that the Department of Finance is guilty of old style discrimination in this matter and that is why I am asking for the intervention of the Minister Designate, Peter Robinson.

"Many civil servants who live in Omagh and Strabane travel daily to Belfast for the purposes of work. There is a lengthy waiting list of civil servants who want to take up posts closer to home. There is supposed to be a new political dispensation and there is a clear link between the location of Public Sector jobs and economic prosperity and opportunity. Omagh, for example, has a long tradition of Public Sector jobs and is ready to accommodate more into the future in the areas of Education, Health, Social Security, Planning, Roads etc. We need a fair crack of the whip."

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