Alliance – Invest in community not paramilitaries

Alliance Vice Chair, Cllr. Michael Long has welcomed the announcement that the Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie will consider the withdrawal Government funding for a £1.2 million programme for conflict transformation of loyalist paramilitaries in 60 days, following recent violence in Carrickfergus and Bangor associated with the UDA.

Cllr. Long has said that all funding for all deprived communities should be based on need, and that money for working class loyalist areas should be invested in established community projects rather than allowing paramilitary groups to become the effective gatekeepers of progress.

Cllr. Long said, “I am delighted that the Minister has finally made it clear that funding for transformation of the UDA cannot continue whilst there is no evidence of any improvement on the ground.

“Paramilitary organizations have made life a misery for many people living in the most deprived communities over the years and, whilst Alliance wants to see these organizations come to an end, we are not convinced that giving public money is the way to achieve this.

“The money has certainly not delivered transformation within the organisation nor is there evidence of any real improvement in the lives of those living in the areas affected.

“I would ask that the Minister would ensure that future DSD investment is put exclusively into worthwhile community initiatives in these areas rather than squandered on paramilitarism.”


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