Enniskillen estate welcome, but illustrates major problems – Ford

Alliance Party Leader David Ford has welcomed the opening of a “mixed” housing estate in County Fermanagh, but cautioned it illustrates the scale of the problem of segregation in Northern Ireland’s public housing.

David Ford stated: “It has been noted that this estate may blaze a trail in the same way Lagan College did 25 years ago. But we are not prepared to wait 25 years for a complete reversal of our unacceptable segregated housing policy.

“Indeed, we need to be doing far more work where housing is currently integrated. If people come under threat or attack, it is the people making the threat or carrying out the attacks who should move, not their victims. It is this warped policy, plus a general culture of acceptance of segregation, which is dividing our society more than ever.

“To abandon segregation, we need to recognize that if we were talking about all-white or all-black estates there would be outcry. So why is all-Protestant or all-Catholic so acceptable?

“We need to amend the criteria for allocations in established estates to maintain balance where there is a significant minority, and most of all we need to recognize fundamentally that integrated housing must be automatic in any new-build estates.

“No one is trying to restrict choice. But we should not continue to labour under the illusion that segregation by religious label is an option. It is not.”


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