WP welcome integrated housing plan

Vital to tackle segregation and sectarianism says Lowry

John Lowry
John Lowry

Workers Party West Belfast representative John Lowry, has welcomed the announcement by Northern Ireland Housing Minister Margaret Ritchie of a Shared Neighbourhood Programme which will see 1 million pounds invested over 3 years to support 30 shared housing schemes across Northern Ireland. Mr Lowry said, “this is a small but hugely significant initiative by minister Ritchie. It is exactly the sort of thing we have been calling for if we are to seriously tackle sectarianism and segregation in Northern Ireland. The programme will be run with Northern Ireland’s public housing authority, the NIHE and will be located in areas where much needs to be done in combating division and sectarianism.


"This initiative is worthy of praise because it sends out the right message that integration is the way forward in bringing our people together and that whilst the guns may be silent , a new beginning in Northern Ireland is not possible unless we tackle sectarianism and the physical manifestations of it. For many years we called on the NIHE to take this kind of step. Over 90% of people live in areas which are made up of 95% of one religion or the other. Along with the segregated school system and the continuance, indeed the expansion, of so called peace walls, division in Northern Ireland has actually been on the increase since the ending of paramilitary campaigns. So whilst the scale of this programme may be small its importance cannot be underestimated and Minister Ritchie deserves credit for it".


"Already she has come in for criticism from amongst others Sinn Fein who have dismissed the programme as well meaning and empty rhetoric and of giving false hope. What sort of statement is that coming from a Party that claims to be republican? Mr Lowry asked. “What might followers of Tone who believe in the unity of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter make of that nonsense? Of course we in The Workers Party are not surprised by the statement, it only reveals Sinn Feins, true colours as an anti republican and Catholic nationalist Party.”


Five housing areas have already been earmarked for the financial support: Springfarm in Antrim, Lissize in Rathfriland, Tonagh in Lisburn, Gortview/Killybrack Close in Omagh and Ballynafeigh in Belfast. Another 25 communities are expected to come on board over the next two years.


Issued 27th August 2008

Peace, Work, Democracy & Class Politics