[Sinn Fein]

18th December 2001

Foster fails the Sellafield test

Sinn Fein Environment Spokesperson, South Down MLA Mick Murphy has accused the Environment Minister Sam Foster of failing the Sellafield test.

Mr Murphy said:

``Sam Foster has failed the Sellafield test. The granting of a licence for Sellafield to begin processing of mixed oxide (MOX) has highlighted the response of the British government to the concerns of people living in Ireland about the risks Sellafield posses on this side of the Irish Sea.

``The response of the minister has been extremely disappointing. He has failed to listen to people living in communities on the East Coast and he has failed to listen to the Assembly. He also appears to be unwilling to enter into dialogue with either his southern counter part or to effectively challenge the British government on this issue.

``He has also made a mess of the phasing out of compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) - that was forced on the local councils by a previous British Conservative Government - and its replacement with Best Value. This is an issue of extreme importance to effective local government.

``Sam Foster has also failed to tackle the issue of the bureaucratic planning procedures that frustrate the development of many communities, especially rural communities. It is system that is wide open to abuse and corruption and the perception among many is that the current system has for decades been abused by Unionists and other profiteers to the detriment of local communities.'' ENDS

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