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Sinn Féin challenge Invest NI over investment record in Newry Armagh

20 September, 2006

Sinn Féin Newry Armagh MLA Davy Hyland has said that unless Invest NI can prove that they will deliver investment West of the Bann and to Border regions instead of their continued focus on South and East Belfast then they should be scrapped.

Mr Hyland was speaking after questioning the performance of Invest NI in the area at a breakfast meeting in Newry today.

Mr Hyland said:

"Invest NI's track record on delivering assistance into to areas such as Newry and Armagh has to be radically improved.

"The argument that creating 'potential' jobs in South Belfast, that continues to get the lions share of support from Invest NI, is a benefit to the wider economic base has been challenged and exposed as folly. We do not need to force thousands of people onto our roads from Fermanagh, Armagh, Down, Tyrone and Derry so that they can take up jobs in the greater Belfast area.

"Future long-term economic growth requires a recognition of the central issue of economic inactivity. In the south FDI and economic growth has been driven by higher levels of participation. Invest NI must be part of the solution. If they do not come up to the mark then their future role must be questioned." ENDS

Note to Editors

A comparison of the six council areas identified by Invest NI and South Belfast as being the most income-deprived and employment-deprived show that financial assistance per head of population these six council areas is £5,752 compared to £27,054 per person in South Belfast.

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