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Allister Reveals Community Background Imbalance in Waterways Ireland

30 June 2011

Statement by North Antrim MLA Jim Allister:

“Given the political nature of cross border bodies it is, on one level hardly surprising that the Protestant community would be underrepresented within the workforce of an origination like Waterways Ireland. The figures which I have obtained via an Assembly question, however, highlight just how stark the situation is.

“Of the 92 non-agency staff employed by Waterways Ireland in Northern Ireland just 29 are Protestant meaning that they constitute under a third of the workforce.

“If the situation was reversed and a government body was found to have a workforce which was under 32% Roman Catholic all of Nationalism in Northern Ireland and the Republic would be crying discrimination from the roof tops. Of course one cannot even discover the community background of Waterways Ireland staff in the Republic as there is “no legal requirement to do so”!

“This data underscores that cross-border bodies deliver nothing of substance for the Unionist population of Northern Ireland and were created solely to further the Belfast Agreement’s ultimate goal of Irish unity.”

Note to editors:

Mr Allister’s question and the answer received is as follows:

To ask the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure for a breakdown of the community background of staff employed by Waterways Ireland.

The total number of people working in Waterways Ireland is 386. There is no legal requirement for Waterways Ireland to gather community background information for the 289 staff working in Southern Ireland and as such this information is not available. There are 97 staff working for Waterways Ireland in the North. Of these five are employees of a recruitment agency and Waterways Ireland does not, therefore, have community information in relation to these.

Of the remaining 92 the community background is Protestant 29; Catholic 59 and Others 4.

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NI politics