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Richie off the mark on departmental over housing task force

7 June, 2007


Sinn Féin housing spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Fra McCann has written to Housing Minister Margaret Ritchie, warning her that she is in danger of repeating the mistakes of the past by appointing departmental civil servants to oversee the implementation of the Semple recommendations into social and affordable housing.

Mr McCann warned:

"This is a throw back to everything that was wrong in the development of the failed housing strategies of the past. What Margaret Ritchie has done give the usual suspects a leading role.

"It difficult to determine whether the minister lost her head or if she is being led by her civil servant advisors. If she genuinely wants to end the housing crisis then she needs to think out side the box, move away from the failed strategies of the past and tap into that wealth of experience in Shelter, the Simon Community, the voluntary and community sector, experts like Paddy Gray from University of Ulster and the housing rights organisations.

"Sadly her recent comments on establishing a departmental Housing Taskforce did not even mention the Housing Executive.

"My real concern is that we may end up being condemned to yet another round of consultation only to find the same old agenda, driven by the same old suspects who presided over the crisis in the first place." ENDS

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