[Sinn Fein]

20th February 2003

Labour Force Survey Religion Report - Catholics still twice as likely to be unemployed than Protestants

Sinn Fein Equality Spokesperson, Upper Bann MLA Dr Dara O Hagan has expressed concerned at the continued differential between Catholic and unemployment rates.

Dr O Hagan said:

``Sinn Fein have consistently highlighted the fact that commitments in the Good Friday Agreement to measures aimed at eliminating the differential in unemployment rates between the two communities have not been implemented.

``The latest figures from the Labour Force Survey Religion Report published today show that unemployment rate for Catholics is 8.3%, significantly higher than the rate for Protestants 4.3%. The unemployment differential still sits at 1.9 for both sexes. For males the unemployment differential is 2.1.

``This confirms the findings of a recent report produced for OFMDFM that makes it clear that current policy is only having a ``modest'' impact on the differential in unemployment rates between the two communities.

``There is a commitment in the Agreement to eliminate this differential. It is not good enough to say that there is a slow pace or a downward trend, the stark reality is that through a mixture of Unionist resistance to tackling the legacy of discrimination and the failure of the British government to implement key areas of the Agreement that the situation has not changed greatly in the 5 years since the agreement was signed.''

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