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Sinn Féin MLA's challenge InvestNI to intervene over Gem job losses

27 April, 2009 - by Maeve McLaughlin, Raymond McCartney

Foyle Sinn Fein MLA's Martina Anderson and Raymond McCartney have met with the new Chief Executive of InvestNI Alastair Hamilton in Belfast. The Foyle MLA's challenged Invest NI to intervene in a bid to save 20 jobs at the Gem call centre in Derry.   Following the meeting Martina Anderson said:   “Myself and fellow Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney met with the new Chief Executive of InvestNI Alastair Hamilton today (Monday) in Belfast.    “It was a very open and frank meeting and we  put our case firmly regarding what we seen as the failure of the previous regime of InvestNI to deliver for areas like Derry and the North West Region.   “Among the specific issues that we raised were the pending job losses at the Gem call centre in Derry. In February, this company announced plans to create 900 new jobs with the aid of £5.5 million assistance from Invest NI.   “Given such a sizeable investment of public money, Sinn Féin argued that Gem should have been required to ensure that a considerable number of these jobs were located in Derry.   “The Programme for Government pledged all Government Departments and agencies, including Invest NI, to address disadvantage by targeting resources and efforts towards those in greatest objective need'.   “This £5.5 million is a significant public resource and it could - and should - have been utilised to retain and create employment in Derry.   “We made that point to Mr. Hamilton and stressed our belief that Invest NI should now go back to Gem and argue for the retention of the Derry jobs – and indeed the creation of more – as a condition of the assistance.   “The new Chief Executive has agreed to look into the issues we raised. I am conscious that he is new in post but I hope that he will take on board what we have said and begin to put in place the new and innovative measures which are required to ensure that areas of disadvantage also benefit from InvestNI support.”

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