Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Unionist myth of cash investment bias exploded

Ciarán Barnes:

Unionist areas are almost 33 per cent more likely to benefit from inward investment than nationalist areas, statistics released by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) reveal.

A breakdown of the North’s 26 council districts show that the 14 with unionist majorities have had £491 million (€717 million) invested in them since 2000. This figure represents an average of £37 million (€54 million) per constituency.

During the same period the ten council areas with nationalist majorities benefited from an investment outlay of £288 million (€420 million). This represents an average of £28 million (€42 million) per constituency – £9 million (€13 million) less than unionist constituencies.

The Belfast and Armagh council areas, which are evenly split between unionist and nationalist, had an investment total of £242 million (€353 million).

The SDLP’s John Dallat said the statistics blow a hole in the argument that unionist communities are underfunded.

He said: “The argument put forward by unionists on this matter is non-existent.

“They have developed a persecution complex to justify their failure to join a power-sharing government with their nationalist neighbours.

“In my own East Derry constituency and on Coleraine borough council it is nationalist communities that are underfunded in comparison to unionist areas. This is reflected in the majority of areas throughout the North.”

British see benefit of all-Ireland economy


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