New report highlights poverty and suicide

Dolores Kelly
Dolores Kelly

Key findings in a government-backed report on parts of Lurgan and Craigavon show areas plagued with paramilitary activity, deprivation and high suicide rates, says SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly.

Voicing disappointment in the key findings of the Communities in Transition’ Report, she said it show ‘little positive change’ in the Kilwilkie and Drumgask areas.

The in-depth report paints a grim picture of two communities which have been earmarked for special attention in order to find solutions to conflict and other related issues.

Dolores Kelly MLA said for possible solutions to succeed in the long run, politics needed to work for everyone.

Mrs Kelly said: “The report from the Kilwilkie and Drumgask area in my own constituency of Upper Bann makes for hard reading. It has been 20 years since our society said ‘yes’ to peace, yet paramilitaries still lean heavily on the backs of communities. Likewise, statistics indicating the high suicide, and employment deprivation rates of the area, illustrate just how many of our communities have been left behind.

“In order to ensure this trend is readily reversed, it will require substantial buy-in from all sections of our society, not least cross-party political buy-in. Too many of our socio-economic issues stem from our fractured past and have been further embedded due to poor governance and the failure of some parties to see the bigger picture. This has meant that there are people across all communities and all constituencies who have been forgotten about.

“We all have a job of work to do. We must step up to the mark to ensure we see our most deprived communities break free from the chains of our past. For this to be successful and sustainable a number of steps must be taken: the breaking of the political impasse, no longer turning social justice issues into party-political ones and a willingness to navigate through our dead lock to restore a government that delivers for all.”