Shock new figures reveal Derry has had the highest bankruptcy rate in the north in five of the last seven years.
SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood, who obtained the figures from Stormont’s Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, said the statistics show “economic discrimination against this city is not a paranoid fantasy.”
“We have the north’s highest level of unemployment, the highest levels of child poverty and the highest levels of bankruptcy. These are league tables which amount to nothing short of an economic crisis in and for this city,” he said.
The latest bankruptcy figures reveal that a total of 87 people have been declared bankrupt in Derry between April last year and February 13 of this year.
That figure is higher than in any other of the north’s 18 Westminster constituencies.
So far this financial year - and in 2006/7, 2008/9, 2009/10 and 201/11 - more people have been declared bankrupt here than in any other area of the north.
“For far too long Derry has been at the heart of Ireland’s history but at the very fringe of its economic expansion,” Mr Eastwood said.
“These figures and Derry’s economic reality are a world away from the illusion of progress which is constantly communicated by Stormont’s current leadership.”
The SDLP MLA said Derry will remain on the periphery if the north’s politicians continue “to wash their hands of responsibility.”
“Indeed, Sinn Féin have even failed to take on the responsibility of an economic ministry at Stormont. These actions betray the needs of this city.
‘Their absence and abdication of political intervention is directly related to the absence and abdication of any economic intervention for Derry.
“Unless they begin to hear this message, unless they wake up and realise the depth of this ongoing crisis, unless they fulfil the role of a responsible and responsive government, Derry will remain condemned to Ireland’s economic fringe.”
Since 2006 a total of 540 people have been declared bankrupt in the city.
Bankruptcies reached a peak in the 2010/11 financial year when 107 people in Derry were declared bankrupt.