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Mc Mahon to push for Economic Task Force for Strabane.

4 November, 2003

Sinn Féin Assembly Election Candidate Brian Mc Mahon says that upon his election he will be lobbying the Assembly and the Executive for the creation of an Economic Task Force for Strabane District.

He said,

"Strabane District is the area of highest multi deprivation in the six counties. It has the highest levels of long-term unemployment, the highest levels of economically inactive adults at 45.5%, the highest levels of child poverty, the highest levels of people with long term and debilitating

illnesses, and the lowest levels of income. This is now being compounded bythe continued bleeding of jobs in the textiles sector and the bleak outlook for workers at Adria LTD, the mainstay of the local economy.

"Following the Spring British/Irish Intergovernmental Conference and the subsequent Joint Declaration in which it was declared that 'Strabane is an area which requires significant investment, Pat Doherty MP wrote to Direct Rule Economy Minister Ian Pearson seeking details as to what practical measures would result from this declaration for Strabane.

"Apart from regurgitating measures that have been in place for years nothing new or creative was forthcoming. Other areas of high multi -deprivation like West Belfast, Derry and the Villages have been designated as key regeneration areas and awarded £50 million over 2 years under the Integrated Development Fund. In terms of West Belfast Gerry Adams MP and Sinn Féin successfully argued for the setting up of a Ministerial Economic Task Force. As a result, the West Belfast Economic Task Force was established and its radical and innovative recommendations are now being implemented and funded by the Integrated Development Fund.

I, along with my party colleagues, will be pushing for the setting up of a Ministerial Economic Task Force for Strabane District. Such a Task Force will need to be Cross-Departmental in approach so as to tackle, in a holistic way, the interrelated and underlying socio-economic problems which have blighted the area for generations."ENDS

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