Sinn Féin MPs prioritise North-West regeneration
Sinn Féin MPs Pat Doherty, Martin McGuinness and Michelle Gildernew and Mitchel McLaughlin MLA issued a joint call in Derry this morning for an economic development strategy for the NorthWest to reverse decades of discrimination and under-funding West of the Bann.
Mr. McLaughlin said:
"Over the past decade, we have witnessed economic growth along the eastern corridor, particularly in Dublin and Belfast, but despite much progress this has not yet been successfully transmitted to the West and NorthWest, to areas like Derry, Donegal, Sligo, Tyrone and Fermanagh.
"The reasons for this unbalanced development are complex and rooted in partition but undoubtedly, one of the key factors has also been the refusal of both governments to invest sufficiently in the infrastructure necessary for this region of over 350,000 people to compete on an equal basis.
"As an all-Ireland party, with representatives in every elected forum on the island, Sinn Féin is working locally, nationally and in Europe to transform this situation. Among our proposals are:
- A NorthWest Regional Economic Development Strategy.
- The establishment of a NorthWest Regional Economic Authority which can put in place the building blocks for the next stage in this region's development.
- Cross-Border Investment in Telecommunications and Energy
- Enhancement of Road, Rail and Port facilities
- Establishment of a Western Seaboard Virtual University
- Investment in frontline services, particularly education and health
- Support for public services, opposition to water charges and privatisation
- Sinn Féin secured a commitment from the British government for a substantial peace dividend. This must now be delivered.
"But to make this vision of a new future possible we need also to create the right political context. The peace process has been in crisis for some time, the institutions are suspended and many key aspects of the Good Friday Agreement have still not been implemented. Gerry Adams has taken an initiative to stop the downward spiral and get the process back on track. We are calling for this initiative to be supported. ENDS