25 November 2004 Edition

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Department of Social Development accused of political bias

West Belfast MLA Fra McCann has accused the Department of Social Development of political bias after Sinn Féin was denied representation on the Housing Executive board.

The Department of Social Development announced on Monday the latest appointments to the ten-member board.

Speaking to An Phoblacht, McCann said it was a stark case of political discrimination against Sinn Féin, as almost every other party has sat on the board in the past, including the PUP, SDLP and the DUP.

"We have been trying for years to get a place on the board because there are obvious housing problems but each time I made an application I was turned down," he said: "I was told it was because I was not as well qualified as those who had applied."

McCann believes he has the required experience, due to his role in campaigning to have Divis Flats pulled down and replaced with social housing, as well as his council duties.

"The only conclusion we in Sinn Féin can come to is that it's political bias that is preventing us from rightfully taking a seat on the board of the Housing Executive," he said.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1