02 November 2005

Row over aid to loyalist areas

Belfast Telegraph

By Noel McAdam
02 November 2005

Sinn Fein and the DUP have clashed over Government plans to tackle deprivation in loyalist and unionist areas.

As a team headed by civil service chief Nigel Hamilton prepares to implement a special taskforce team report targeted on Protestant areas, the DUP accused Sinn Fein of attempting to thwart the programme.

It came after Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams sounded alarm bells over working-class unionists blaming nationalists for their communal problems.

Mr Adams said deprivation and poverty had risen in unionist areas over the years because they had been "abandoned" by unionist politicians.

And he warned the approach being taken by the Government in the Shankill area is unlikely to result in any boost to local socio-economic conditions.

After a meeting with Direct Rule Minister David Hanson, Mr Adams said: "I am concerned a potentially dangerous situation is developing where working class unionists blame working class nationalists for their difficulties and that the British government might feed into this through the decisions it takes in the allocation of resources."

DUP Assembly member Diane Dodds hit back however: "The very fact that Adams is running to the Minister in response to the representations being made by the political representatives of loyalist areas demonstrates how outlandish his claims are in relation to unionist areas being abandoned by their political representatives.

"The only abandonment has been on the part of Sinn Fein who never represent the needs of their areas in Parliament."

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