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Peace Dividend must support all-Ireland Economic Blueprint

26 October, 2006

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin has welcomed the publication of an all-Ireland Economic Blueprint by the British and Irish governments but added that it must be supported by a substantial financial commitment.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"Sinn Féin have consistently argued the only way to address the structural weakness in the Six County Economy and particularly the imbalanced economic development affecting the border region and North West is through the development of an all-Ireland economic vision.

"The publication of this all-Ireland Economic Blueprint highlights the commitment of both the British and Irish governments to move forward in this direction in a way that will benefit all the people of Ireland. This announcement comes after years of lobbying by Sinn Féin.

"Last week I met with the Irish Finance Minister Brian Cowen and on November 1st all of the parties will be meeting with the British Chancellor Gordon Brown, it is essential that we work together to maximise the Peace Dividend that can underpin the work of a future Executive.

"This blueprint must be supported by a substantial financial commitment from both governments. Sinn Féin have argued that a £10 billion 10 year Peace Dividend to support the creation of 140,000 jobs and major investment in infrastructure is required.

"I particularly endorse the commitment to increased R & D expenditure, especially to support indigenous business and a focus on SMEs. The commitment to more balanced regional development, and to addressing the impact of the border through an all-Ireland approach to infrastructure investment is also very welcome. Sinn Féin believe that an integrated approach to the delivery of all public services is the best way to ensure equal access to quality services, whether it is in health, education or training." ENDS

Note to Editors

Sinn Féin spokesperson on economic issues Mitchel McLaughlin will be available to speak to the media at 12.30pm today in the foyer in Stormont to react to the announcement by the Dermot Ahern of a multi million euro investment package in all-Ireland infrastructural projects.

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