Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Less than 1 in 4 key NIO staff Catholic

3 February, 2006

Sinn Féin Human Rights and Equality Spokesperson, Caitríona Ruane MLA has said that Sinn Fein will call for urgent action to address the huge under representation of Catholics with the core of the NIO and demand that the NIO along with a number of other organisations, including th4e BBC, is designated under Section 75 of the Equality legislation.

NIO Minister has revealed that only 155 out of 657 core departmental staff, dealing with issues including equality, criminal justice and security and political development, based in the north is Catholic. This represents just under 24% of personnel.

Ms Ruane said:

"Sinn Féin has consistently argued that the NIO, along with a number of other agencies and bodies, should be designated under section 75 of the equality provisions. These latest figures show that it a cold house for
Catholics. It is also unacceptable that the NIO refuses to monitor in detail the deployment of Catholics throughout the department and demonstrates the urgent need for the NIO to be designated.

"We will again be raising the issue of inequality across the civil service and the urgent need for effective monitoring and radical action to tackle the structural inequality and discriminatory practices, such as the ban on Irish nationals from key civil service posts, in the political negotiations.

"The NIO has huge power in the state and wields particular influence in the peace process. It is very worrying that the level of Catholic under representation is lower in the NIO than in any other government department." ENDS

Connect with Sinn Féin