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26 May 2022

McLaughlin: SDLP job plan can make Derry the cross-border capital of the North West

Peace Bridge Derry

The SDLP job creation plan for both Derry and the North West of Ireland to help boost employment and investment in the region.

The SDLP have unveiled a radical plan to make Derry the cross-border capital of the North West.

Foyle candidate, Sinéad McLaughlin, insisted the city “must be a regional capital with the confidence, drive and success of cities such as Belfast, Galway and Cork”.

Ms McLaughlin was speaking during her unveiling of the SDLP's job creation plan for both Derry and the North West of Ireland.

The plan's main strategy focusses upon addressing the high levels of unemployment and poverty in the city as well as the lack of investment – compared to other Irish cities – that Derry has received over the years.

Although a bone of contention with the unionist parties, Ms McLaughlin stated that the Northern Protocol does have its benefits – ones that could help the growth of North West businesses and give a boost to local sectors such as health, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy and manufacturing.

Ms McLaughlin also called for integrated working between Invest NI and the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) in the Republic to attract investment and for all local and national authorities – both North and South – to address the regional imbalances that the area has endured.

She 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.

SDLP Assembly candidate for Foyle, Sinéad McLaughlin

“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.”

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