Funds Fiasco

The bodies tasked with lobbying for government investment in Derry have been accused of failing the city’s public.

Sinn Fein assemblywoman Martina Anderson has launched a scathing attack on Ilex, Derry City Council and the City of Culture Board for failing to compile robust business cases to secure funding for key projects in the city.

The attack followed the publication of a report by university lobby group U4G and the city’s chamber of commerce which claims the North’s budget 2011-2015 discriminates against the North West.

The report claims that major projects in the region are not being adequately funded.

However, Ms Anderson said much of the blame must rest with those responsible for ‘making a case’ for the city.

“It is time that Derry City Council, ILEX and the City of Culture Board got their act together and put forward a professional, ambitiously robust outline business case stating the projects and costed projections – and then go after it with energy.”

Commenting on U4D’s report, SDLP MP Mark Durkan pointed his finger at the Department of Culture Arts and Learning for failing to make bids for City of Culture funding.

‘No excuse’

“There is no excuse for DCAL not to have made bids for the City of Culture.”

He also slammed OFMDFM. “Given its association with the City of Culture bid on behalf of the Executive, OFMDFM should have been encouraging and facilitating this and asking questions when no DCAL bid appeared and marker bids from DSD did.”

He said he was further disappointed that the A6 road upgrade from Derry to Dungiven is now on hold until 2015 at least.

The U4D and LCOC report claims that high profile projects in Belfast and the East are getting better support than “more significant” projects in the Northwest.

It states that budget plans for cuts will have a “severely detrimental” impact in the region.

It puts 13 recommendations for Ministers to rowback on infrastructual, capital and current cuts across a range of departments.