Ni Assembly Elections 2016: SDLP can deliver fairness to Derry

Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-04-2016: The Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Colum Eastwood pictured outlining his vision of Progressive Nationalism. during the SDLP's manifesto launch in The O'Neill Ranfurly House Arts and Visitor Centre in Dungannon Northern Ireland.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-04-2016: The Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Colum Eastwood pictured outlining his vision of Progressive Nationalism. during the SDLP's manifesto launch in The O'Neill Ranfurly House Arts and Visitor Centre in Dungannon Northern Ireland. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

The manifesto - with the title ‘Build a Better Future’ - is, says the party, deliberately “filled with optimism”.

“If we follow the right path and if we make the right choices, we can build a better future,” says leader Colum Eastwood.

According to Mr. Eastwood - who is standing in the Foyle constituency on May 5 - the SDLP is a rapidly changing party “determined to bring real change to Northern Ireland and to the island.”

The manifesto is, he says, grounded in the challenges faced by people in their everyday lives.

“It is a manifesto which sets out how we will build a better future for all who live here,” he added.

On May 5, says the SDLP leader, people have the chance to reverse a “decade of failure”.

Turning to matters in Derry, the SDLP says job creation is its number one priority with government investment and a special ‘City Deal’ top of the agenda.

The manifesto also reasserts that the SDLP will only enter a government at Stormont which delivers the A6 dual carriageway to Belfast and the expansion of the Magee campus.

The SDLP leader added: “Our Derry manifesto is a document designed to finally deliver fairness to this city. People in Derry are rightly frustrated and angry. Promises have been made to this city time and again and have been broken time and again. May 5th offers a chance to end that frustration.”

Only the SDLP, he says, is in a position to deliver the best deal for Derry.

His party colleague and Foyle candidate, Gerard Diver, says the current Stormont leadership have “presided over the economic repartitioning of the North.”

“This election is the chance to end that policy of deliberate neglect,” he added.

“In government, the SDLP will ensure that Invest NI job creation funds, infrastructure funds and higher education funds are targeted to those areas which need it most.”

The third SDLP candidate in Foyle, Mark H Durkan, says a new ‘City Deal’ would put the “driving power for Derry’s future in Derry’s hands”.

“Most recently, in Inverness and Aberdeen, City Deals have unlocked hundreds of millions of pounds and powers which are reshaping the fortunes of those cities. Derry needs and deserves the same.”

“A City Deal, tailored to the specific needs of Derry, would allow us to unlock the potential which has been frustrated for so long,” he said. “It would allow us to build an economy and shape a society where our young people are no longer raised for export.”