[Sinn Fein]

27th November 2001

No equality proofing of investment into North Belfast

Reacting to the decision of the Social Development Minister Nigel Dodds to allocate 15.5 million out of a total of 16.5 million to loyalist areas of North Belfast, Assembly member Gerry Kelly said that the Minister has clearly departed from any notion of equality proofing. Mr. Kelly said:

``Clearly there are areas of social deprivation in unionist areas in North Belfast which are in need of investment and I would support this happening. However, investment from any Department into any area must be both targeted and equality proofed. Many north Belfast nationalists will see today's announcement by the Minister, allocating 15.5 million of a total allocation of 16.5 million to unionist areas, allied with the previous DUP Minister's announcement of 8.6 million to Glenbryn, as a calculated insult.

``North Belfast has traditionally been a unionist area with unionist political representation. As a result the nationalist community has suffered decades of political, social and economic deprivation. We are still living with the legacy of this everyday. This year alone has seen in the region of 300 bomb and gun attacks on Catholics in the area.

``The Minister Nigel Dodds must realise that the chronic shortage of social housing in nationalist areas of North Belfast will not go away. 75% of the homeless are Catholic. It needs to be addressed and addressed effectively. Today's announcement is a wasted opportunity to make progress and will be viewed by many as being both partisan and sectarian.''

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