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No guarantees on long-term future of Invest NI

2 August, 2005

Sinn Féin Vice President, West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has said that there
should be 'no guarantees' about the long-term future of Invest NI given its
failure to meet minimum targets to tackle inequality through strategic
investment West of the Bann and in Border counties.

Mr Doherty said:

"Sinn Féin have exposed the bias of Invest NI that favours of the more
affluent East Coast and parts of Belfast over areas West of the Bann and
Border communities. The current planned investment strategy replicates
failures of the past.

"Invest NI is part of the problem. The failure to meet even minimum targets
to tackle and eradicate inequality is unacceptable.

"The British government has clear commitments to deliver on the equality
agenda. This means that there can be no excuses. Attempts to exempt
so-called 'high level' policy from the equality agenda are also unacceptable
because it is exactly these polices, particularly in relation to investment
strategy, that should be the instruments of change.

"The British government, its direct rule ministers, the government
departments and their agencies need to recognise that they must go back to
the drawing board in ensuring that they live up to their commitment to
deliver on the equality agenda.

"We have seen progress on demilitarisation in recent days, we still need to
see progress on policing and we also need to see equality commitments
delivered upon.

"Sinn Féin have consistently argued that future investment strategy should
be driven forward within the all-Ireland framework. We have argued for the
creation of a single all-Ireland body subsuming both Invest NI and the IDB
to drive forward economic development through a balanced inward investment
strategy and support for the growth of indigenous business.

"There should be no guarantees about the long-term future of Invest NI. Sinn
Fein have exposed its investment bias and there is a strong rationale for
movement towards a single economic development agency for the island." ENDS

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