‘Urgent clarity needed on Social Investment Fund’ – Clarke

Newry Times News Posted by
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Alliance South Down spokesperson Councillor Patrick Clarke has called on the DUP and Sinn Fein to reach agreement on the needs based criteria against which the £80million Social Investment Fund will be allocated.

Councillor Clarke’s comments were made after an investigation by The Detail website found that its budget remains unspent due a political dispute between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Speaking to Newry Times, Clarke said: “This is an £80 million fund to help tackle deprivation and promote education, employment and health in our community and yet, as far as I am aware, two years on, not a penny has been released to projects.

“The Social Investment Fund has been hampered by a lack of transparency and information since its launch in March 2011 and there is now clearly an urgent need for the First and deputy First Minister to clarify what is going on for the benefit of the many community and voluntary sector groups hoping to make good use of this fund.”

“While the DUP and Sinn Fein argue, many good community projects remain unfunded. OFMDFM need to communicate what is happening with this fund.

“It would seem the shared future rhetoric of the First Minister is already ringing hollow and projects across the community are in jeopardy as a result of an apparent insistence on a ‘shared out’ future approach to the social investment fund.”

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