The land of bread and circuses

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The ‘One Plan’ was launched in June 2011 by Derry City Council and Ilex and established a vision harnessing the roles of the public, private and voluntary sectors in delivering almost 13,000 jobs with the aim of positioning Derry as the economic centre of the North West region within 10 years.

Yet, Derry remains at the top of the list in terms of unemployment, deprivation and every other key indicator pointing towards economic failure across council districts in the UK.Time and again we have seen the infrastructural requirements needed to kick start the plans kicked in the teeth. The ongoing debacle of the mooted expansion at Magee, plans for a third road bridge, the A5 link to Aughnacloy and then on to Dublin are some of the ideas that have yet to progress in any meaningful capacity. True, the new science park at the former Fort George site is up and running and hosting businesses, but as been already pointed out, there is already an established science park languishing on the Buncrana Road. The disconnection between local authority level and Stormont on these issues as pointed out in today’s interview with independent councillor Darren O’Reilly is a solid point. Ideas formulated at city level seem to be greeted with frustrating inaction in Belfast. As a consequence the piecemeal drip of jobs into the city and surrounding areas is doing nothing but exacerbate the frustration felt by the unemployed. Another part of this chain reaction is that young people are looking to foreign shores for work and a better existence and when they leave they are taking the talents and ideas needed to regenerate their own place of birth. The Latin phrase panem et circenses (bread and circuses) is one often used to point to a means of superficial appeasement. Given the time lapse and events here in the last four years, it is one that gaining increasing relevance for Derry and the North West as a whole.