Belfast Telegraph

Dolores Kelly: Housing allocation 'discriminates against Catholics' in north Belfast

The SDLP deputy leader has met with North Belfast residents to launch a report into 'inequality' in the area

By Claire Cromie

SDLP deputy leader Dolores Kelly says Catholic in north Belfast are being discriminated against in the allocation of social housing.

The MLA met with residents on Wednesday who have completed a report into their experiences of "housing inequality" in the area.

They say the "disgraceful conditions" they have had to live with for years - including infestations of "black bugs", levels of damp severe enough to peel wallpaper and thick hazardous pigeon waste - has left many with a feeling of social isolation.

Ms Kelly said: “The conditions that the people of north Belfast have been subjected to are intolerable and would not be accepted in any other functioning democracy.

“Any objective analysis or examination of the facts can come to only one conclusion - Catholics in need of housing are being discriminated against."

Ms Kelly pledged to take the report back to the Stormont Social Development committee, of which she is a member.

She said in the wake of former DUP leader Ian Paisley’s admission that the denial of housing for Catholics which sparked the Civil Rights Movement was wrong, the Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland should robustly challenge the "inequalities which continue to plague housing allocation" in north Belfast.

She added: "My party will make addressing this inequality a key priority as we hold the minister to account over his failure to robustly deal with the plight of these residents and the thousands like them across the region."

The research was carried out by residents working with Participation and the Practice of Rights (PPR).

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