Derry needs to get its act together - Anderson
Responding to criticisms of Executive Departmental spending in Derry, Martina Anderson MLA (Foyle) said:
"Without doubt there is a Belfast centric mindset when it comes to investment and development and while much of the criticism is understandable it is crucial that we examine how those tasked with lobbying for investment in Derry and Region are performing. It's not good enough to constantly criticize others and look for someone to blame.
"The Belfast Royal Arcade is getting £70 Million and funding of £6million to stage the Police and Fire Games in Belfast in 2012 is also committed. But they are not getting this because somebody in the Executive just decided one day that it would be a good idea. Belfast is getting the funding because those tasked by Council to lobby and seek funding and investment carry out their remit with passion and committment.
"The first thing they do is to submitt a robust, costed and realisable Business Case. In contrast the paper put forward by U4D and Derry Chamber of Commerce highlights the differential in investment in Belfast in comparision to Derry, but there is no mention of the fact that in this city, neither Ilex nor Derry City Council, the City of Culture Board nor anyone else with responsibility for delivering investment in this City of Culture thought it appropriate to put forward a business case.
"No government Department could allocate money for an over-arching award bid like that which is required for the City of Culture without first receiving a well presented and professional business case for how the money will be spent. Any Department that would allocate funding in such a cavalier manner would soon find itself in front of the Public Accounts Committee to account for such practices - and rightly so.
"Therefore it is time that Derry City Council, ILEX and the City of Culture Board got their act together and put forward a professional, ambitiously robust outline business case stating the projects and costed projections – and then go after it with energy. This is not about a wish list for Derry. It's about ambition, imagination and putting together practical projects and going for them. And to be honest, there are enought people being paid handsomely to do just that but we have yet to see the product. Give us the product and we as politicians - from all parties - will do our utmost to sell it to those who hold the purse strings. Without product our hands are tied.
"We need robust evidence based proposals – it's up to Derry City Council, ILEX and the City of Culture board to provide us with them."