Where is the £150 million economic aid package for Strabane?
West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty has called on the British government to deliver a similar economic aid package for Strabane District as it did to alleviate the fallout from the collapse of MG Rover at Longbridge, in the West Midlands in England in April.
The local MP said,
"The British government were in a position to be able to bring forward a holistic package of measures amounting to £150 million of aid in an effort to redress the fallout from the collapse of MG Rover at Longbridge.
"Yet in Strabane District, the local economy has been completely devastated with the closure of Herdsman's and the continued massive job losses from Adria, the mainstay of the local economy. In the last year alone 1000 jobs have been lost and the social impact has been dire. The response from government to this crisis has been non-existant.
"The scale of the job losses in this area is a lot worse, in proportionate terms, than the impact of the closure of Longbridge to the West Midlands.
"Immediately after the May elections, I wrote to the British Prime Minister Tony Blair calling for a similar intervention for Strabane District given the precedent established by Longbridge. I also requested to meet with him and/or his Secretary of State Peter Hain to discuss the situation in Strabane. I am still awaiting a response.
"I have now resent my request to Tony Blair and have also written directly to Peter Hain requesting an urgent meeting so as to demand that his Administration take the deteriorating economic situation in Strabane District seriously by making speedy and substantial interventions on the same basis as the British government did with the Longbridge issue. " ENDS