23 September 2005

Adams criticises Hain

Daily Ireland

Zoe Tunney

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has criticised remarks made by the British Secretary of State Peter Hain about the economic and social future of the North.
In a keynote address in Belfast yesterday, Mr Hain said: “Violence and rioting must be left behind if we are to create a strong and prosperous Northern Ireland”.
Referring to claims by unionists that most of the recent loyalist violence was due to social and economic deprivation in loyalist areas, Mr Hain said he accepted unionist frustrations.
He also said loyalists and nationalists in deprived areas of Belfast had the right to ask the question, “where is our Laganside development?”
Afterwards, Gerry Adams spoke at a conference given by the Employment Services Board in west Belfast.
“I listened to Mr Hain’s comments very closely today and not once did I hear the words regeneration, or development,” he said. He pointed out that 16 projects in west Belfast and the greater Shankill are “still waiting on funds promised to them by the British government”.
“These are very difficult times for the people in west Belfast and the greater Shankill,” he said. “I think it is crucial that we are not mealy-mouthed. We must fight for funding for our projects.
“This is our Laganside right here. It is in this project and yet we have only secured funding until 2006. The British and Irish governments must realise that there has to be funding and investment in the future. They must implement policies of investment.”
Based in the greater Shankill and west Belfast, the Employment Services Board aims to improve access to jobs for people in the area.
“Mr Hain talks about the links between conflict, social deprivation and violence... You cannot combat deprivation by comparing with the other community, by trying to prove who is more deprived. What you have to do is build partnerships and establish equality. Not equality for nationalists or equality for the greater Shankill but, equality for everybody,” Mr Adams said.
“We need joined-up thinking. We must get people to work together.”

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