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Fresh Start Panel Report

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Communities – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:45 pm on 15th November 2016.

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Photo of Paul Givan Paul Givan DUP 2:45 pm, 15th November 2016

That issue has been touched on before in the Assembly in respect of shared housing. I believe that when you create the environment in which people can have confidence, you will naturally develop shared housing. There are specific requirements that my Department will, of course, meet when it comes to developing shared housing areas.

In the broader sense, whether it is social housing or private housing, it is about building confidence in our communities so that people feel at ease with one another, and that will then develop into mixed housing areas. What I do not believe in is somehow socially engineering outcomes. People should be given houses on the basis of need; it should not be on the basis of one's religion.

I recognise that that is a strange concept for the Alliance Party. It supported the discrimination of Protestants when it came to Police Service recruitment and is now putting forward the case that people should be denied a house on the basis of their religion. I will not support that.