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West Tyrone must get fair share of Public Sector jobs - Doherty

17 April, 2008

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has called for West Tyrone to be allocated its fair share of public sector employment in a written submission he has made to the consultation into the Public Sector Policy Review being led by George Bain.

Mr Doherty said,

"Historically and currently areas West of the Bann have had a low number of public sector jobs. Strabane District has the lowest base of public sector workers in the six counties and with the latest statistics showing only 12.2% of economically active people employed in the public sector, it is no co-incidence that most of these Public Sector Jobs in the District are also in the lower grade and lower salaried bracket.

"Many civil servants who live in Strabane travel daily to Belfast for the purposes of work. There is a lengthy waiting list of civil servants who want to take up posts closer to home. This centralization is totally unnecessary in the modern world of advanced communications and technology and I have asked the panel to fully examine the detrimental social, economic and environmental impact of this centralization.

"There needs to be a pro-active approach to the decentralisation of Public Sector jobs to areas like Strabane District if there is to be any notion of fairness or delivery of equality. Strabane District is top of the multi-deprivation league in the six counties and I have also asked the panel to ensure that this will be a major consideration factor in determining where public sector jobs should be dispersed to in any decentralization strategy.

"In my written submission, I have therefore urged the consultation panel to consider recommending meaningful proposals to redress the historical and current imbalance and ensure that Strabane is guaranteed its fair share of public sector employment including recommending (i) the decentralization of a government department or substantial section of a government department to the District or (ii) Locating an All-Ireland or Cross Border Body in the District.

"It is clear that in terms of the Public Sector in the six counties we will be dealing with a smaller sized cake in the time ahead but it is crucial that West of the Bann secures a fair slice of whatever size of cake that exits at the end of the process which is currently taking place." ENDS

Note to Editors:

The Bain Review was in Strabane yesterday to take submissions and is scheduled to report its recommendations in June.

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