Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin today welcomed the recent announcement by Martin McGuinness of a ministerial taskforce to focus on redressing economic disparities in the North West. The Foyle MLA was addressing the Assembly.
Maeve McLaughlin said:
“I welcome this initiative by Martin McGuinness in targeting regional disparities affecting the North West as an area requiring a policy priority position across all departments.
“While Derry took centre stage in 2013 as a place to be and a city that can deliver major events it remains a region requiring a focus in terms of skills and job creation.
“The city also came together in identifying the main catalyst programmes in the One Plan which are key to regeneration.
“But it remains the case that three out of four council areas with the highest levels of unemployment are in the North West.
“Our economic misfortune isn’t just a consequence of the current economic recession. Nor is it all the fault of the Executive.
“These economic disparities are the out-workings of decades of discrimination and systemic underinvestment by previous regimes and British direct rule ministers.
“Sinn Féin believes that if we are to break that cycle we must become a more resilient and more self-reliant economy while creating the environment to attract inward investment.
“Sinn Féin has challenged Invest NI arguing that it must promote Derry and the Northwest more robustly.
“This work is beginning to pay off with Invest NI agreeing to fund the development of Derry’s Unique Selling Point and Integrated Economic Strategy. This will provide a comprehensive tool to market the region to foreign investors.
“I also welcome INI commitment to the ministerial taskforce announced by Martin McGuinness.
“As well as promoting and marketing our Unique Selling Point with a major focus on Derry’s Digital offering we also need to concentrate on developing our indigenous businesses through creation of a cross-border enterprise zone.” CRÍOCH/END