Derry cannot be left behind in the bid to drive the economy

Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey. (2307C39a)
Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey. (2307C39a)

SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey has welcomed Monday’s NI Assembly debate on the alarmingly low levels of employment in the North West.

The Foyle MLA also gave a cautious welcome to comments made by Minister for Employment and Learning during the debate.

Speaking after he introduced the motion to the Chamber, Mr. Ramsey said: “It was most welcome to hear the minister’s comments on ‘opportunities for transformation if all the levers available to government are fully brought to bear.’

“It was also most welcome to hear the Executive are actively seeking to address those issues which those of us living in Derry are only too aware of.”

Mr. Ramsey told the House: “Tackling unemployment and deprivation demands leadership, and that has not been apparent to date. The First Minister and the deputy First Minister have accepted that we will have to do things better for the North West. I welcome the fact that recently, though only recently, they have set up a subgroup of ministers to look at rebalancing the economy to ensure that Derry is not left behind.

“I sincerely hope that this is not a subcommittee that has been set up for votes. The unemployment statistics and levels of deprivation are the result of weak or non-existent infrastructure and chronic historical underinvestment. These need addressed in the short, not long term.”

Mr. Ramsey concluded: “I also welcome the comments by Minister Farry that he will, should the business case for Magee ‘represent good value for make a bid to the Executive in the next comprehensive spending review with a view to finding the funds to implement it.

“I only urge the Minister to do this sooner rather than later as Derry has waited long enough for its economic woes to be addressed at Executive level.”