Sinn Féin Council Leader Slams InvestNI and reiterates call for 'Area of Exceptional Economic Needs' status for Derry
Sinn Fein Councillor Maeve McLaughlin has called on InvestNI to explain exactly what initiatives it is taking to halt the hemorrhaging of jobs in the North West and to attract new investment.
Councillor McLaughlin said:
"Once more the North West has been hit with a major job loss announcement. In the past two years this Region has hemorrhaged over 2,500 jobs with an approximate loss to the local economy of 7 to £10million annually. This can not be allowed to continue. InvestNI was set up with the specific remit of regeneration and job creation. What is it doing to encourage investment in Derry? Where are the jobs? When was the last announcement of new jobs in Derry that actually materialised?
"The Sinn Féin Council Group received cross party support in December 2005 for a Motion calling for the North West Region to be declared an 'Area of Exceptional Economic needs'. The Motion pointed out that since the Region consists of a general travel to work area with workers traveling in both directions between Derry and Donegal then it is the responsibility of both administrations to address this issue. This Motion was also endorsed by the North West Region Cross Border Group.
"As a member of the NWRCBG I will be encouraging it to lobby both administrations, because of the natural travel to work area encompassing both jurisdictions, to urgently designate the North West Region an ‘Area of Exceptional Economic Needs’. InvestNI and the IDB should also pool their resources to address the dire situation of job losses in this region.
""While I welcome the commitment given by Employment Minister, Reg Empey to do all he can to assist I am also calling on other Ministers who have responsibility for investment, such as DETI, Social Development and Regional Development to look at ways of expediting projects that have already been identified for delivery in the lifetime of this Assembly.
“At last weeks AGM of Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau, NI Tourist Board confirmed they are developing a new business strategy for Derry. I would urge that this strategy be rolled out without delay. But if we are to capitalize on increased tourist numbers we need urgent investment in low level infrastructure such as the provision of additional public toilet facilities and adequate coach parking.