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Mitchel Mc Laughlin MLA lambasted the record of Invest NI

18 February, 2006

Speaking in the economic section of the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Dublin this afternoon the Party's economic spokesperson, Mitchel Mc Laughlin MLA lambasted the record of Invest NI.

Mr Mc Laughlin said;

"The Invest NI Annual Report shows a clear imbalance in the way resources are targeted. The impact West of the Bann, in border areas and in North and West Belfast is especially stark with these communities suffering the worst effects of high deprivation and unemployment.

"North and West Belfast together received less than a third of the financial assistance given to South and East Belfast for 2003-04 (£12.6 million compared to £41.5 million). The 5 constituencies of South Down, Newry/Armagh, Foyle, West Tyrone and Fermanagh/South Tyrone together received less assistance than South Belfast, one of the most affluent areas of the North.

"The seven constituencies West of the Bann have received only 10% of assistance given and are only allocated10% of future planned investment. It is no accident that these areas receiving the lowest levels of INI financial support and investment are nationalist areas.

"Invest NI by simply replicating past patterns is part of the problem. It's a nonsense for Invest NI to claim that 82% of investment is located in NTSN areas. The facts do not support this claim. Sinn Féin has consistently argued that the definition for TSN areas is so wide that it is meaningless.

"The correlation between those areas losing out on Invest NI support - West of the Bann, the border counties, North and West Belfast - with the mapping of areas with high unemployment and deprivation is stark. Invest NI is clearly failing in its duty to equality proof investment strategy and as a result the patterns of neglect, through unionist and British direct misrule are being reinforced. This pattern must be reversed." ENDS

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