Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

No shared future in planned segregation at Girdwood

Under our employment laws, it isn't permissible to discriminate, but where there is a religious, or gender, imbalance in a particular workplace, you can apply 'affirmative action' when recruiting.

That means targeting members of the disadvantaged group by stressing that they are welcome to apply in leaflets and recruitment advertisements.

Affirmative action aims to eliminate 'chill-factors', which lead Catholics, Protestants, or women, to think certain workplaces aren't for them.

In the Girdwood development in north Belfast, a twisted form of affirmative action is designed to encourage segregation.

Housing is to be constructed at either end of the former Army base and to be allocated on merit.

The catch is that Protestants living in the middle-Shankill area are being encouraged to apply for housing at one end and have been sent leaflets to their homes suggesting they should do so.

Catholics in housing need got no such leaflets.

It is true that amenities are planned between the two sets of housing. In a divided society, such shared spaces can become battlegrounds between kids in each set of housing.

Our politicians need to rethink. Our youth deserves better.

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