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Investment to tackle social disadvantage - McGuinness

15 April, 2008


Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness told local trade unionists that the massive investment planned here over the next decade will be used to create the opportunity to tackle economic and social disadvantage.

The Minister was speaking at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions - NI Committee's Biennial Delegate Conference held in the Magherabouy House Hotel in Portrush.

He told delegates:

"Growing the economy is our top priority. This is vital so as to provide the wealth and resources we need to build the peaceful, prosperous, fair and healthy society we all want, supported by high quality public services and infrastructure.

"We plan to invest approaching £20billion in our infrastructure over the next ten years, with around £6billion in the next three years. This money will be used to build and renew the roads and transport links, the schools, the colleges, the hospitals and health care facilities, the water and sewage facilities, the social housing and the other investment we need to grow the economy and provide modern high quality services.

"We are very conscious of the great concern to ensure that this huge capital investment is used in a way to maximise the social and employment opportunities for all our people, addressing existing patterns of socio-economic disadvantage. I am pleased to say that the Executive has agreed guidance on this covering all public bodies for which we are responsible. I believe that this has the potential make a real difference for many.

"Including practical social objectives to ensure the promotion of fairness and transparency into contracts and tenders is an important way of making sure the Executive's policies are turned into positive outcomes.

"We are grateful to NIC-ICTU for the significant contribution it made to the development of this document, which will soon be formally launched. In the meantime I can reveal that work is already underway to help public bodies put this guidance into practice. It will not sit on the shelf," he promised. ENDS

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