One of the British government’s high-profile beneficiaries remains an overwhelmingly Protestant-staffed company, it has emerged.
Bombardier, the aerospace firm once known as Short Brothers PLC, is, one of the firms reaping the benefits of £773 million in state spending in East Belfast over the past five years.
In comparison, only a tiny fraction of this, £19.86 million, was spent in West Belfast over the last five years.
A single grant of £21 million – more than the total spent in West Belfast – will go to Bombardier, while the firm will also receive a government loan of over £113 million.
However, according to figures released earlier this month, the company still only employ a total of 830 Catholic workers out of a total staff of 5,320, which amounts to just 16 per cent.
Sinn Féin Assembly member Jennifer McCann said: “These inequalities need to be challenged and prioritised to become the focus of concerted, targeted action with measured outcomes.
“It is also very clear that the areas receiving the lowest levels of financial support and investment are predominantly nationalist areas.”
PARK WALL TO OPEN?
Meanwhile, the only park in Western Europe divided by a wall has seen a campaign for its reopening.
A survey between the two communities on either side of the Alexandra Park sectarian interface in north Belfast is asking residents to give their views on creating a doorway in the so-called ‘peace wall’ which separates the two sides.
However, there remain concerns that loyalists will use the door to target nationalists for sectarian attacks.
Community workers have plans to install a doorway into the wall to allow the park to be opened up during the day.
The British government has said it will commit six-figure funding for the community workers as well as regeneration of the park, to include seating, picnic tables and a woodland walk.