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July 22, 2005

Sinn Fein Week in Review

Sinn Fein
The Week in Review

15 to 22 July 2005

Loyalist Sectarian Attacks Continue

On 18 July Sinn Fein Assembly member Michael Ferguson
visited homes attacked in the Clandeboye Gardens area of
Short Strand. Mr Ferguson said that the small nationalist
area had been under nightly attack from the loyalist Cluan
Place area. He added recent years had seen a programme of
community engagement and there was subsequently `relative
calm' in the area.

However, he added that since the 12 July a number of homes
had `come under a constant barrage of missiles'.

He said residents `want to live in peace', but there were
`still those in the unionist communities surrounding the
small nationalist district who seem determined to continue
attacking homes.'

The previous night a petrol bomb attack took place on
Brookfield Mill in the Alliance Avenue area of North
Belfast, following a day of sustained attacks against
nationalist homes there.

Cllr McClenaghan said the attacks were `sectarian and only
carried out to inflict damage and destruction'.

She said the PSNI were present but did `nothing to stop'
the attacks, in which she said at least ten petrol bombs
were thrown. She called for unionist representatives to
`play a leadership role and do all in their power to end
these attacks'.

Sinn Féin Newtownabbey councillor Breige Meehan condemned a
number of sectarian attacks on nationalist homes and
vehicles in Newtownabbey. Three homes were attacked and a
works van belonging to a recently deceased man was

Cllr Meehan said the area had seen `an increasing number of
attacks on nationalist homes and property carried out by
unionist paramilitaries'.

She said a failure by unionist politicians `to take on
sectarianism within their community is an abdication of
that responsibility.'

Catholics Still Face Discrimination And Greater

On 20 July Sinn Féin General Secretary, Mitchel McLaughlin
accused DUP MP, Gregory Campbell, of `peddling lies about
the nature of disadvantage, discrimination and unemployment
in the Six Counties'.

Mr McLaughlin said there was `no question that many in the
protestant community are disadvantaged but the reality is
that on every single indicator that Catholics face greater

He pointed out that 70 per cent of people living in the 10
per cent most deprived wards, as measured by the Noble
Index, are Catholic.

He added `people from the Catholic community are more
likely to be unemployed than Protestants'.

The following statistics underlining the issue were also
raised. The unemployment rate for Catholic men is 9 per
cent compared with 5 per cent for Protestant men. Among
women, the unemployment rates are 6 per cent for Catholics
and 3 per cent for Protestants. A higher proportion of
Catholic than Protestant working age men and women are
classified as economically inactive. 24 per cent of
Catholic men are economically inactive compared with 18 per
cent of Protestant men.

Indicators such as economically inactive rates, the
'official' unemployment figures and also at the levels of
long-term unemployment, long-term illness and incapacity,
and others such as the Noble index of deprivation and
indicators of poverty and ill health all correlate. The
statistics show that unemployment, ill health and poverty
are a bigger problem for the Catholic community.

The monitoring statistics released by the Equality
Commission in December show that the Catholic share of the
workforce is still below the Catholic proportion of the
economically active population. In the Public sector 55.1%
of the overall composition is Protestant and 39.8% Catholic
while in the Private sector the protestant share is 55.6%
protestant and 39.4% catholic.

The composition of the private sector with 26 plus
employees also show a pattern of Catholic under-
representation. Harland & Wolff employs 12 Catholics and
235 protestants and Shorts Brothers employs only 14.8%
Catholics as against some 85.2% Protestants.

The same pattern of under-representation is replicated
among government departments, particularly at senior civil
service grades. The 2nd Report of the Justice Oversight
Commissioner published June 2004 shows that that less than
1 in 4 senior civil servants is Catholic. Across the NIO as
a whole, Catholics make up only 28% of the workforce.

At senior civil service grades (5+ and 6/7) there is
systematic under representation with less than 25% of all
senior grade civil servants coming from a Catholic
background, ranging from 15% in the Employment, Trade and
Investment Department, 13% in Regional Development to 33%
in Education.

Given recruitment trends over the last 30 years it would
take until 2057 to achieve fair representation.

The Health Department report on Health Inequalities
published in May last year show that people living deprived
area are a third more likely to die prematurely; 25% more
likely to die as an infant; 15% more likely to get cancer;
and 25% more likely to be admitted to hospital.

The Housing Executive figures for 2002-03, show that in
Belfast the percentage of Catholics on the Housing
Executive waiting list for a house was 44%, yet only 28% of
those actually allocated a house were Catholic – an 'under-
allocation' of 16%. Protestants represented 43% of those on
the waiting list, but 64% of those allocated a house - an
'over-allocation' of 21%.

For the same period (2002-2003) across the north as a whole
the percentage of Protestants on the waiting list was 47%,
with 54% actually being allocated a house - an over-
representation of 7%. For Catholics, the figures were 40%
on the waiting list, and 35% actually allocated a house -
an under-representation of 5%.

Genuine Dialogue Essential For Racial Equality Strategy

On 19 July Sinn Fein spokesperson on anti-racism, Alex
Maskey, said that genuine dialogue and engagement was
essential if the Racial Equality Strategy announced by
British direct rule Minster Jeff Rooker was to be a

Mr Maskey said the strategy identified dialogue as a key
aim. He said there was concern that this `core shared aim
that will set the strategic direct for action from the
departments, agencies and wider society is currently
lacking'. He added that `successful dialogue and engagement
must built upon properly resourcing for the sector to allow
for an effective input into policy development.'

He concluded: `Racism and intolerance are two of the
biggest challenges facing our society. Fundamental to the
success of any strategy must be an honest look at how we
develop policy and crucially how we implement and monitor
the impact of policy.'

Week in Review is circulated by Sinn Fein MPs. Telephone
020 7219 8162. Email or visit

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