SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood has welcomed the announcement that 24 posts at the Department of Environment are to be decentralised to Derry.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has announced today that a total of 24 posts from Planning, including the chief planner, DOE Marine Division and several positions from the private office of the minister are to be relocated at the former Ebrington Barracks.
Mr Eastwood said the commitment from the Minister was yet another example of the SDLP delivering real gains for Derry.
“This is a very welcome announcement by my party colleague and shows that his department is committed to delivering for Derry. I would hope that this move will serve as an example to other Stormont Ministers to decentralise jobs from their departments to the North’s second city.
“This is not the first time that an SDLP Minister has decentralised jobs to Derry.
“It’s now time for other ministers to follow the SDLP’s lead and do the same.”
Minister Durkan has also announced he has identified 70 posts within DOE alone which will transfer to Coleraine.
This will go some way to offset the devastation when hundreds of DVA jobs- the bulk of them in Coleraine- are shifted to Swansea on Monday 21st July.
Over 50 posts transferring from Belfast will go to DVA staff in Coleraine.
A further 20 staff will relocate, which will help to lessen the impact on the local economy, after the Westminster government announced in March that it was centralising all our vehicle licensing services in Swansea.
Mark H Durkan is also working with the Minister for Transport in London to secure twelve additional new jobs, funded by Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea.
Mark H Durkan said: “The loss of hundreds of DVA jobs is a devastating blow to the hard working people affected and their families.
“I pledged to draw a fine comb over my Department to establish as many posts as I could to offset the job losses and lessen the economic impact. 70 jobs from an already dispersed department like the DOE is welcome. I am hopeful that I can secure another dozen jobs from Westminster to deal with vehicle excise enforcement.
“I continue to work closely with my Executive colleagues to try and ensure other government departments will now make up the shortfall.
“I am also mindful of the economy in Coleraine and further afield that has been affected by the job losses. To that end, I am arranging to relocate 24 posts from DOE Planning, including the chief planner, DOE Marine Division, and some posts from my own Private Office to Ebrington Barracks in Derry. Some of the posts in Derry will be suitable redeployment opportunities for surplus DVA staff.”