Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew MLA has welcomed the announcement that another step in the roll out of Broadband to rural areas has been reached, in negotiations with the preferred supplier reaching their final stages.
Ms Gildernew said:
"West of the Bann, in rural areas like Fermanagh and Tyrone our local businesses and economic development have been disadvantaged because of the lack of investment in infrastructure. The roll out of Broadband into rural areas will be an important incentive in creating a level playing field both in terms of our local indigenous businesses and in attracting inward investors.
"However, this must be part of a wider economic development strategy that creates a dynamic for rural economies, particularly in border areas that have suffered decades of under-investment, discriminatory policy and from the impact of the artificial border.
"We need to ensure that investment in the rural transport network including road, rail and air, the infrastructure required to support manufacturing including power supply and sewerage and economic activity is targeted towards rural areas.
"We also still urgently need to address the costs of electricity, spiralling insurance costs and the impact of how the industrial de-rating and rating of vacant property are being handled. These are key issues that are making it harder for local businesses to survive in a competitive global economy and harder for us to attract inward investment.
"For border areas it is also vital that we build on the potential of all Ireland trade and continue to recognise the barriers they face as a result of a border that is becoming more artificial and irrelevant by the day." ENDS