Handouts “based on creed rather than need” no way to tackle sectarianism: Long

Alliance Party Vice Chair Michael Long has voiced criticism of the Government’s plans to tackle sectarianism in disadvantaged areas.

The Castlereagh Councillor stated: “I represent the area of Castlereagh including Braniel, Cregagh and Clonduff, which the Government would describe as ‘Working-class Protestant’, and I know the widespread belief is that the Government’s work is not addressing the needs of people on the ground.

“The concepts behind the Government’s programme amount to a sectarian carve-up of funding to deprived areas. These programmes do not address the problems people really face.

“Our own recent surveys show clearly that Government initiatives are not dealing with concrete problems of concern to people. ‘Capacity building’

does not appear on local people’s list of priorities! The concerns focus on the loss of local bus services, the potential closure of the local library, and what will happen to the local school. Targeting money in those areas would make much more difference to people’s lives.

“It is time for an end to gimmicky sectarian ‘strategies’. They must be replaced with a sensible programme of government services delivered on the basis of need, not creed.”


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