6 October 2005 Edition

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Deprivation greatest in nationalist areas

Mitchell McLaughlin and Caitríona Ruane

Mitchell McLaughlin and Caitríona Ruane

Equality: Sinn Féin report exposes the truth on inequality and deprivation in the North

Sinn Féin has launched a comprehensive new document on equality issues which rubbishes recent claims that unionist areas are more economically deprived. The claims were made by unionist politicians, their allies in the 26 Counties and some media commentators. This followed recent widespread unionist paramilitary violence. The report also demands the urgent implementation of Good Friday Agreement provisions on equality issues.

The party's Equality and Human Rights spokesperson Caitríona Ruane said that it was clear that despite decades of fair employment legislation and the clear legal commitments in the Good Friday Agreement that the lack of political will has meant that inequality, deprivation and discrimination have not been effectively challenged.

The South Down MLA went on: "The reality is that a combination of unionist political and establishment opposition to the implementation of the equality agenda has meant that we are all the losers. Strong and effective equality legislation, implementation and policy should make a real difference wherever discrimination is.

"The evidence shows that deprivation and poverty are greater in predominantly nationalist areas. Nationalists are under-represented in the workforce, the unemployment differential has remained virtually unchanged and that in Education, Health and Housing nationalists fair far worse.

"There is also a specific problem in the allocation of investment by agencies such as Invest NI and in the composition of the Civil Service,particularly at senior levels."

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