23 March 2006 Edition
Smash discrimination: Spotlight on Lisburn
Call for councils to be investigated
Lisburn Sinn Féin councillor, Paul Butler, has expressed concern that the Equality Commission has not carried out any investigations into local district councils since the body was set up under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
Despite blatant cases of discrimination, the Commission has so far refused to exercise its powers to investigate local authorities in breach of equality legislation.
Speaking after meeting the equality body on Thursday, 16 March as part of Sinn Féin's 'Smash Discrimination Anois' campaign, councillor Butler said: "Many people had expected that, when the Equality Commission was set up, discriminators like Lisburn Council would be challenged. It is a shock to many people in places like Lisburn that this council has not been brought to book over their continual flouting of equality laws."
Sinn Féin has identified five areas where Lisburn Council has failed to deal with discrimination - allocation of council positions, the Irish language, the provision of play spaces, rights under civil partnership legislation and the issue of flags and emblems.
Butler's party colleague and fellow councillor, Angela Nelson, also attended Thursday's meeting and said that Lisburn Council had created a "chill factor" amongst the nationalist population in the area.
"Sinn Féin is publicly calling on the Equality Commission to initiate a full investigation of Lisburn Council because the record of the unionist representatives is one of discrimination."