SDLP Foyle Assembly candidate Sinéad McLaughlin has unveiled the party’s job creation plan for Derry and the North West.
The strategy seeks to address the high levels of unemployment, economic inactivity and poverty that have been endemic in the city and region for generations.
Among the proposals to transform the area are the recognition of Derry as the cross-border capital of the North West of Ireland, using the benefits of the Protocol to grow local businesses that focus on sectors that are of particular benefit such as health and life sciences, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and renewable energy.
The strategy also proposes integrated working between Invest NI and the South’s IDA to attract investment.
Other proposals include an effective regional skills strategy, with the expansion of higher and further education courses and a significant increase in vocational training.
The strategy calls on the Executive, the Irish Government and Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council to work together to address the long-standing regional imbalances.
Foyle candidate Ms McLaughlin said: “For too long people in Derry and the wider North West have failed to get their fair share.
“Generations of families have been unable to pursue their chosen career, to earn a fair wage or to study in the way that they would like because of the legacy of neglect that this area has been subjected to.
“We learned a long time ago in Derry that if we want to get something done then we have to do it ourselves. Despite our city’s best efforts, numerous administrations at Stormont have failed to deliver for our city.
“It has taken the work of the SDLP to secure investment and jobs through companies like Seagate, in our City Deal and the new Medical School.
“We will continue to hold the British and Irish governments to their commitment to deliver 10,000 students for Magee.
“The potential in this area is clear for all to see and we have produced this strategy to show what we can do to change things – we’ve had more than enough excuses.
“If the political will exists we can transform this city and region in the years and decades ahead and truly deliver for all our people.
“This is a fluid document, we will continue to consult widely on it, but we need to make much faster progress – we can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results.
“At the cornerstone of this strategy is the view that Derry must be recognised as the cross-border capital of the North West of this island.
“We must be a regional capital with the confidence, drive and success of cities such as Belfast, Galway and Cork – and we need both the Executive and the Irish Government to get on board with that.
“This area has been left behind on both sides of the border, but this is the start of a conversation that can drive real change here and I’m determined to make this plan a reality to put people first and benefit communities right across the North West.”Tags: