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Invest NI failure has stunted Strabane job creation

15 January, 2009


West Tyrone Sinn Fein MP MLA Pat Doherty has accused Invest NI of stunting job creation in Strabane because of its continued failure to acquire additional land for industrial use within the local District.

The local MP launched the stinging criticism of Invest NI after DETI Minister Arlene Foster confirmed, in response to a series of written questions that he had submitted to her, that four locally owned client companies with proposed expansion projects could not be accommodated within Orchard Road Industrial Estate in Strabane.

He said,

"We are in the exact same position we were in five years ago with only the same 2.1 acres of Invest NI land available for inward investment/business expansion at Orchard Road Industrial Estate.

"Back in June 2007 the then DETI Minister Nigel Dodds, in response to questions I had raised about the scarcity of Invest NI land in Strabane District, stated that: 'Strabane is one of four areas identified in the first phase of Invest NI's current acquisition policy and intimated that 30 acres would be required to meet demand in the medium term."

"It is now clear that due to Invest NI's continued failure to acquire additional land Strabane is losing out on economic development and job creation opportunities. This has been confirmed in response to the latest series of questions I submitted to DETI Minister Arlene Foster on the issue in which she stated:

"In recent years, as remaining Invest NI land has become scarcer, four locally owned client companies with expansion projects could not be accommodated within Orchard Road. Of these, one has purchased premises in the Derry City Council area and one has relocated elsewhere in the Strabane Council District whilst two other projects have been delayed while these clients continue to seek land in Strabane.

"The failure by Invest NI acquire additional land to meet demand in Strabane District is compounded by the fact that financial assistance allocated towards projects in Strabane District by Invest NI is about one fifth of that allocated to similar or smaller sized Districts like Limavady or Larne.

"I am now awaiting a response from Minister Arlene Foster to a request for a meeting to discuss Invest NI's failure in regards to Strabane District and will be seeking affirmative action from her to redress this ongoing failure." ENDS

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