Discriminatory Funding under threat: Ritchie’s legal advice

The BBC was tonight reporting the details of the conflicting legal opinions provided to Executive Ministers ahead of the decision by Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie, to halt funding to the CTI (not yet on website). In its 10:25pm bulletin, it reported the legal opinion upon which the Minister decided to act as stating that her move could be “robustly defended” and stated that the initial decision to proceed with funding for the CTI could be legally challenged on the basis that it was “for protestants” only.
The latter aspect of the legal advice provided to the Minister, and forming part of the basis upon which she acted, raises another interesting question: will the Minister move to halt funding for similar explicitly protestant only programmes; and if she doesn’t, is her legal advice informing her that she is vulnerable to legal challenge in the event that she doesn’t act in such a manner? What are the implications of this legal advice if the Minister attempts to simply re-allocate the £1 million CTI money to other initiatives exclusively in protestant areas?

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