Social, Economic and Spatial Inequality - A Question of Human Rights
``...we declare that the nations sovereignty extends not only to
all the men and women of the nation, but to all its material
possessions, the Nations soil and all its resources, all the
wealth and all the wealth producing processes within the
Nation and with him we affirm that all right to private
property must be subordinate to the public right and welfare.''
(Democratic Programme of the First Dail 1919)
This affirmation has yet to be realised.
The material resources of the nation have not only been amputated and stunted by partition; but remain unfairly distributed, with the right to private property and enterprise superseding public right and welfare.
Nowhere is this more evident than within operational commitments of regional and spatial development strategies North and South.
Within these strategies it is the market place that determines the allocation of resources. The very same forces that create wealth create poverty and inequality.
Wealth creation on this island is concentrated within the largest cities, more specifically Dublin and Belfast. Development and growth using this model is reliant on the radial expansion (often uncontrolled) of the metropolis and will always be accompanied by impoverishment of the periphery - as can be seen in the historic neglect and stagnation of the Border Corridor.
The discrimination that has underpinned regional development in Ireland is compounded and stimulated by the existence of the border.
Social, economic and spatial deprivation brought about by the dislocating resonance of the border impacts detrimentally on the life chances of the people who live adjacent to it. In individual and communal terms this represents a denial of human rights.
Therefore strategies that seek to redress social, economic and spatial inequality along the Border Corridor must recognise this relationship and work from that premise. Integrated Area Plans that promote integration and participation on the basis of equality puts the needs of the people before private capital.