Long concern over cost of intimidation

Castlereagh Alliance Councillor Michael Long has expressed his concern at figures released by the Housing Executive which show that £45m was spent in the last financial year rehousing those affected by intimidation.

When he raised the matter at Castlereagh Borough Council’s most recent monthly meeting, housing representatives there confirmed that money spent on the Special Purchase of Evacuated Dwellings (SPED) scheme had resulted in less money being spent on other projects, such as maintaining properties.

The Housing Executive also agreed to provide Cllr Long with a breakdown of figures for SPED expenditure in the Castlereagh area.

Cllr Long said: “It is sad that so much money still has to be spent on rehousing those intimidated by paramilitary activity. People need to realise the continuing negative impact paramilitarism has on our society – money that could be spent on improving homes for Housing Executive tenants has had to be diverted because of their continued policy of hatred.

“The Housing Executive confirmed to me that money has been diverted from other projects to deal with the unfortunate victims of paramilitary activity, and they have promised to provide me with details for the Castlereagh area.

“However, as we all know, the cost of hatred in Northern Ireland is costing us all dearly, both in terms of human and financial burdens.”

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