There should be an independent review into SIF, says Long

There should be an independent review of the Executive’s controversial Social Investment Fund (SIF), Alliance Leader Naomi Long has said.

Mrs Long was speaking ahead of an Alliance motion in the Assembly tomorrow (Tuesday) calling for a spotlight to be shone on the SIF process, which has come under fire for its lack of transparency and awarding millions to the Charter NI organisation, which is headed up by self-confessed UDA commander Dee Stitt.

Assembly Speaker Robin Newton was recently embroiled in the scandal, when it was revealed Charter NI described him as an ‘advisor,’ following which he recused himself from any decisions on business involving SIF, despite having already rejected an attempt by Assembly members to query the matter.

“There is clearly deep public concern regarding many issues around SIF and the processes involved in its implementation and operation,” said Mrs Long.

“Alliance is on record as having expressed our concerns about SIF from the start due to its failure to allocate any of its money to tackle deprivation because of disputes between the DUP and Sinn Fein. Worries were also voiced around a number of the lead partners, who while they may do some good work, have questions to answer over their paramilitary links.

“The First Minister and deputy First Minister should immediately commission an independent review of the entire SIF process, taking all this into account and admitting the negative impact the entire situation has had on public confidence in the entire political process.”

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