NI Council for Ethic Minorities shuts over cash woes
Northern Ireland's leading anti-racism organisation is to close its doors.
The NI Council for Ethic Minorities (NICEM) has filed for voluntary insolvency, due to cash-flow issues.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, NICEM Chief Executive Patrick Yu, said the decision has been made that because of a severe cash-flow problem, made critical by expenses from a major conference the organisation hosted earlier this year.
"We made a painful decision to closing down NICEM through voluntary administration.
"This is the best way to protect the achievement, reputation and integrity of NICEM.
"While NICEM has several outstanding funding applications, and planning a few new ones, we were unable to sustain a sufficient cash flow to give us the option of restructuring our debts," Mr Yu said.
NICEM had come under increasing financial pressure since losing a contract with the Department for Justice in 2014, to supply interpreter services.
Former Alliance MLA, Anna Lo, said she was "devastated" at news NICEM was having to close its doors.
"How could our Government let NICEM go to the wall in this way?
"This does not send out a very positive message of support to ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland.
"I'm not only sad about this, I'm very angry.
NICEM are the only umbrella organisation dedicated to helping ethnic and minority people adapt to life in Northern Ireland.
"They do enormously important work.
"Who will fill that vacuum?" she asked.
NICEM currently has seven paid staff, and operates from three offices, in Belfast, Londonderry and Lurgan.
The organisation is to hold an annual general meeting on November 7, at which NICEM will be formally dissolved.