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Sinn Féin challenge NIO vision of ‘a shared future’

1 May, 2007

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Equality and Human Rights Martina Anderson MLA has attacked the NIO vision of a shared future shallow and meaningless.

Ms Anderson responding to comments made by David Hanson today said:

"The NIO Agenda on a Shared Future is shallow and meaningless because it is based on a deliberate misrepresentation of the political realities in this part of Ireland.

"The Shared Future agenda, Peter Hain, David Hanson and others report on the progress made in delivering equality and prosperity. In fact the British governments Shared Future document claims that inequality has been sorted and that all that is left to be resolved is intolerance.

"This is clearly nonsense. The poorest sections are relatively worse off than a decade ago.

"No matter how close the engagement between different sections within our society, the fact is that unless it is underpinned by equality then it is meaningless. Slaves and their owners throughout history have had close and intimate contact - but it was not built on a relationship of equals. Men and women share houses, but that does not mean that gender inequality is not a crucial problem for our society.

"The reality of life for many people in the north is that there people in desperate need of housing, who are at the top of the waiting list, yet they are unable to access vacant properties because of their religion. It seems that the British government and NIO want to talk about how much they want a shared future - but also want to keep the same structures that are making people's lives a misery.

"The only hope for creating a shared future is the construction of a society where there is equality, justice and relationships that are built on mutual respect." ENDS

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