In 2015, a High Court ruling stated that the Executive had breached its statutory duty by not having an anti-poverty strategy, a key component of the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent St. Andrews Agreement.
In January, the New Decade, New Approach deal which brokered the return of government to Stormont after a three year absence stated that an anti-poverty strategy should be ready for Executive sign-off and endorsement by the end of March 2020.
At June’s Council meeting the Ballyarnett representative called on the Executive ‘to develop and implement an anti-poverty strategy, as detailed in New Decade, New Approach’.
A response from the Department for Communities stated that ‘it is anticipated that an anti-poverty strategy will be published by the end of 2021, subject to Executive agreement’.
Councillor Farrell said: “The deal to restore Stormont stated that an anti-poverty strategy would be produced by March 2020, but it now appears that it’s at least another year away.
“Stormont was told five years ago by a high court judge that it needed an anti-poverty strategy and five years later we are no further forward.
“300,000 people across the North are living in poverty and the continued failure to comprehensively address poverty is nothing short of shameful.”
Councillor Farrell concluded: “Developing the anti-poverty strategy is strictly the responsibility of the Communities Minister, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ni Chuilín.
“Every day of delay in the production of this strategy is another day that 300,000 people are being failed.”