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Invest NI announcement raises questions about commitment to regionalisation

7 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew MLA has said that the announcement that the new Invest NI Headquarters will be based at Bedford Street in Belfast raises questions about the commitment to regionalisation.

Ms Gildernew said:

"The history of economic development and investment throughout the Six Counties has been deeply partial with areas West of the Bann having seen little emphasis in securing inward investment.

"Any long term economic investment strategy must not reinforce the failed patterns and priorities of the past. Particularly with the loss of many traditional manufacturing jobs in the textiles industry and in Derry, Fermanagh and Tyrone where that remain stubbornly high levels of unemployment there needs to be evidence that the stated commitment to regionalisation across all policy is backed up by decisions.

"It is disappointing that an opportunity to create a focus for investment away from Belfast and the Eastern seaboard has been lost in the decision to build the new Invest NI Headquarters in Belfast. In such a geographically small area arguments that everything must be in Belfast carry little weight.

They only serve to reinforce the perception that under British direct rule Ministers any attempt to address the legacy of the past has been abandoned in favour of reinforced past patterns of division and discrimination." ENDS

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