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Sinn Féin seek support for North West projects in Brussels

6 December, 2006


Sinn Féin Assembly member for Foyle Mitchel McLaughlin has travelled to the European Parliament in Brussels where he is taking part in a delegation hosted by Bairbre de Brún MEP. The delegation is seeking to secure support for projects in the North West region. The delegation which includes the Chambers of Commerce from Buncrana, Letterkenny, Gaoth Dobhair, Strabane and Derry along with Sinn Féin representatives from throughout the North West region are meeting with senior members of the European Commission, theEuropean Parliament, the Irish Regions Office and the Northern Executive, as well as the European Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking from Brussels Mr McLaughlin said:

"This is an important trip. We have brought together the Chambers of Commerce from Buncrana, Letterkenny, Gaoth Dobhair, Strabane and Derry along with Sinn Féin representatives from throughout the North West region. We have met with senior members of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Irish Regions Office and the Northern Executive, as well as the European Chamber of Commerce. During these engagements regional development in the North West, the PEACE III and IFI funds and the new proposed European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation have been addressed.

"The Border Corridor area has clearly suffered most from partition and is characterised by:

  • High unemployment
  • Poor educational facilities and low educational attainment
  • Rural isolation
  • Inadequate health systems
  • Poor communications, high energy costs and weak transport infrastructure
  • The Border Corridor Area is the poorest region in Ireland.
  • The North West is the poorest area of the poorest region.

"Sinn Féin are about putting together an integrated approach to tackling this deprivation and under investment. During our meetings today we have sought support for:

a North West Regional Economic Development Strategy

a North West Regional Economic Authority

"We have also sought EU funding for a proposal which is at an advanced stage for a North West Medical School which will involve co-operation between NUI in Galway, Magee in Derry and the IT colleges in Sligo and Letterkenny.

"This has been a positive trip and much good work has been accomplished. Clearly the coming together of the five Chambers to lobby for common goals is important and the significance of this was not lost on those we met over the past 24 hours.

"Sinn Féin will seek to build upon the work completed during this trip and bring to a conclusion the projects which we have sought support for here in Brussels. This is clearly still work in progress and work which we will continue in the time ahead." ENDS

General Secretary, Mitchel McLaughlin, and Councillors Padraig Mac

Lochlainn, Pearse Doherty, Gerry MacLochlainn, Sean McPeake and Jarlath

McNulty

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