Anderson officially takes on MEP role

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Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson will officially take up her new role as a Member of the European Parliament tomorrow.

The North’s newest MEP will travel to Strasbourg to sign the register of the European Parliament.

Ms. Anderson has already had discussions with Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research and Development.

Speaking after the meeting, she said: “During the course of the Executive Sub-Committee on the Economy at Stormont, which was attended by Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, I took the opportunity to discuss some of the Executive’s European priorities with her.

“As I have just returned from a familiarisation visit to Brussels, it was also an opportunity to introduce myself to the Commissioner with whom I hope to develop a productive working relationship in regards to accessibility to innovation and R&D projects for companies here – especially SMEs - that could help kick-start the north west economy.

“One of the Executive’s economic strategy objectives is to improve competitiveness through a focus on export led economic growth. Another area of concentration is on actions which will re-balance the economy through higher value added private sector activity while addressing the need to rebuild the local labour market.

“In order to achieve these objectives, the Executive is taking action which will stimulate innovation, R&D and creativity so that we widen and deepen our export base.

“I can assure everyone that, when I take up my position as MEP, Commissioner Quinn will be a priority point of contact in my efforts to assist in delivering the Executive’s economic objectives through its European priorities.”

Ms. Anderson will also this week step down as MLA for Foyle and Junior Minister on the Stormont Executive.

She is being replaced in the Assembly by Maeve McLaughlin, the former leader of the Sinn Féin grouping on Derry City Council.

Ms. McLaughlin believes that among the key issues Stormont needs to deliver on are maximising the potential of our tourism product, 2013 City of Culture, and the Regeneration Plan for Derry.