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SDLP ministers need to answer questions on DVA jobs – Ó hOisín

18 March, 2014 - by Cathal Ó hOisín

Sinn Féin MLA for East Derry Cathal Ó hOisín said that he remains unconvinced that successive SDLP ministers placed sufficient pressure on the British Roads Minister to transfer the powers of vehicle licensing to the Assembly.

Following an urgent question placed to the minister in the Assembly today on this issue, Mr Ó hOisín said:

“The jobs losses at the DVA office in Coleraine were a huge blow to local people who fought a long campaign to have the jobs retained at the site.

"This campaign was completely ignored by the British Roads Minister highlighting the value that Westminster places on job creation and retention within the north of Ireland.

“It reinforces the need for the Assembly to have financial powers.

“When pressed on this point and the nature of the discussions that the British Roads Minister had with both the current Minster of the Environment Mark Durkan, and his predecessor Alex Attwood, in relation to transferring the powers of DVA to the local Assembly, he was vague at the best.

“There was no acknowledgement by Mark Durkan of the loss of £22m from the local economy, or the costing of what it would take to control the DVA locally.

“There question remains on how much pressure was placed upon the British Roads Minister by the two successive SDLP ministers to transfer these powers to the Assembly, which would have protected these jobs into the future."

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