12 January 2006 Edition

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Equality Commission has "failed dismally"

Sinn Féin MLA Caitríona Ruane has issued a strong warning on the future direction of the North's Equality Commission and questioned why the series of public meetings being organised by the commission do not include meetings in Down or Tyrone.

Ruane said the Commission's record to date had been sadly lacking and that its vision for the future fails dismally to generate any confidence that it has learned from past mistakes.

She added that to make meaningful progress, the Commission had to address the historical legacy of discrimination.

"It must recognise that that the structures of the state in the Six Counties have, in the past, consistently reproduced and compounded inequalities, and that this approach continues. This is demonstrated in the geographical location of investment and capital infrastructure and the persistent and ongoing failures to target and direct resources towards those most disadvantaged," she said.

"The Equality Commission are holding a number of public meetings across the North which will provide local people with the opportunity to discuss equality related issues. This is to be welcomed. However, it is unacceptable that they have no plans to have any of these meetings in Counties Down and Tyrone. I have written to the Equality Commission and asked that they organise, as a matter of urgency, consultation meetings in both these counties."


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