Economic decline of NW must end

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If the economic decline and unemployment disadvantage west of the Bann is to be halted and reversed, there needs to be a sea change in thinking.

Piecemeal interventions will only perpetuate the status quo. Radical action is required.

The North West has always been underprivileged. After all, it was ignored by successive Stormont governments - in large part because of its nationalist majority.

Indeed, right to the very end of unionist misrule in the North, the Derry area was discriminated against economically.

It is now clear that a new comprehensive economic plan for the regeneration of the Derry-Strabane-Limavady area is urgently required.

Our rates of unemployment stand out against the comparative prosperity of other areas across the North - noticeably those areas east of the Bann.

Derry has a threefold problem.

Not only are jobs disappearing, but also this is occurring against a background of a consistently expanding population. Allied to this is our below par system of infrastructure.

Now that we have our own government at Stormont, it’s only natural that its many members will bring to it the needs and demands of their own areas.

However, surely those members representing Derry, Limavady, and Strabane have a stronger case than anywhere else for special - indeed emergency - treatment on the economic front.

Our politicians needs to ensure that everyone has a fair share in a modern, prosperous and inclusive Northern Ireland.

Presently, too many people are marginalised and excluded from social and economic progress.