Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín has welcomed the agreement that the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will move to Ballykelly saying that it is a boost to the entire region.
The news finally settles a long running issue that will bring public sector jobs to the East Derry town.
Mr Ó hOisín stated: “The news that there is now agreement that the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will set up its headquarters in the former British Army base in Ballykelly is a massive vote of confidence to the entire region.
“This will be the first time that a full department will be situated West of the Bann and will provide huge economic benefits to the local community.
“This decision will not just deliver many public service jobs to the area but will create many more ancillary jobs in the service and supply sectors across the North West. It will also secure jobs in the local retail sector through the additional disposable spending power it will bring to the region.
“There will also be an opportunity for civil servants currently residing in the area to apply for a transfer so they can work closer to home.
“We now need to move to the next stage and begin to prepare the site for the department which again will create jobs in the local construction sector and this should begin immediately.
“I am also pleased that there is now agreement on a fund of up to £650m to be spent on rural development projects. This will allow for rural communities to access services that people in urban areas take for granted.
“I would call on other Ministers to take their lead from Michelle O’Neill and follow through on the Programme for Government’s commitment to tackling regional disparity through decentralisation.”