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Dodds needs to signal intent to decentralise public sector jobs

24 September, 2008

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP MLA Pat Doherty has criticised DUP Finance and Personnel Minister Nigel Dodds for refusing to give a commitment that he will pro-actively work to ensure the decentralisation of public sector jobs to area Strabane District which has the smallest base of public sector jobs west of the Bann.

Mr Doherty said:

"Next Tuesday (30th September), Professor George Bain is scheduled to publish his panel's long awaited report on the Review of Policy on the location of Public Sector jobs.

"The terms of reference of this Review include consideration of 'potential equality issues' in relation to the location of public sector jobs. Given that Strabane District has the lowest base of public sector jobs west of the Bann and that George Bain has acknowledged himself that this deficit needs addressed at the public consultation dimension of the Review held at the Alley Theatre in April of this year, I believe that it is important to establish as to whether Nigel Dodds is committed to decentralizing public sector jobs on the basis of equality to areas such as Strabane District.

"However, in response to written questions I submitted to the Minister on the issue he refused to give a commitment that he will pro-actively work to decentralize public sector jobs to this area saying by stating that it be 'inappropriate to give assurances or commitments to any particular areas until such times as there has been the opportunity to carefully consider the findings and recommendations of the Review'.

"This response is extremely disappointing. While I understand that he would not be in a position to give specific commitments at this stage, there is nothing stopping him from giving a general commitment that he would pro-actively work to redress the deficit in the public sector base in Strabane District and to commit himself to a policy of equality in this regard." ENDS

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