SDLP Assembly candidate for Foyle, Gerard Diver has said that his party’s manifesto paves the way for an Ireland that does not raise its young for export.
Speaking after the manifesto launc, which took place in Dungannon on Monday, the former SDLP council group leader in Derry said the policies contained in the 49 page document: “Amount to the creation of opportunities for our children, training and education opportunities which will allow them to stay in Ireland for education and work.”
“Our fairness pledge, which will ensure Assembly investment West of the Bann will directly address the issues faced by the region.
“This manifesto gives five solid commitments, upon which SDLP participation in the NI Executive depends.
“These are commitments to our voters which will deliver effective change or we will oppose any government which fails to live up to a commitment to the North West.
“It is time for politics to start delivering for the constituents of Foyle. Devolution under Sinn Fein and the DUP has delivered spectacularly in East Belfast for example but constituents in this area will face a year of uncertainty due to the Sinn Fein inaction and their botched Welfare Reform policies.
“The SDLP has decisive plans to ensure that people see their future here. As well as plans to support the creation of nearly 40,000 jobs, we will put an end to the economic madness which has seen investment in our universities plummet. The SDLP will invest in our future, in your future, your children’s future.
“There has been no change in levels of child poverty West of the Bann in the last nine years.
“This document contains a clear commitment to open a savings account containing £250 for new born babies. The SDLP’s ‘Strong Start Fund’ will be topped up at aged 10 with an additional £250.
“It is no longer acceptable that 100 000 children in Northern Ireland live below the poverty line. This manifesto proves our determination to address the difficulties all our children encounter.
“Over the next five years the SDLP also commit to reversing the Executive’s recent cuts in student numbers and increase investment in third level education and apprenticeships. We will also reduce the fees that students pay at universities, thereby widening access to third level education.
“As political leaders we must show young people that they can build a life here, they can enjoy opportunity here. They can stay and build a career and a home here.
“The North cannot continue losing some of best and brightest. Our people are our greatest resource and the future of this economy is diminished by every one of those people that is forced to leave.
“This is why I urge you to vote SDLP. We are determined to build a better future.”