Councillors ‘must have central role in City Deal’

SDLP Councillor Sinead McLaughlin.
SDLP Councillor Sinead McLaughlin.

Derry City & Strabane District Council must have direct input into shaping the City Deal plans for the region, SDLP Councillor Sinead McLaughlin has said.

Colr. McLaughlin was speaking as she congratulated Council officers, stakeholders, academics and businesses for their efforts to help secure the £105m funding package at Tuesday’s meeting of the Business & culture Committee.

She said that the hard work needs to begin now “and we need to secure match funding from a functioning Executive”.

She described the funding package as a “very modest sum”. “Even if we double it is still a modest sum but it could be transformational if used in an appropriate manner,” she said, adding that with its regeneration responsibilities it was “important Council representatives are in every level of planning, managing and delivery of the City Deal”.

Council Director of Business & Culture Steven Gillespie said that as projects are developed there will be some which fall under the Committee’s directorate and papers will be brought on those matters.

Colr. McLaughlin has called for updates at “every single Committee meeting we have”.

Sinn Fein Colr. Sandra Duffy congratulated the Council team and said Foyle MP Elisha McCallion and others had been instrumental in getting to this point. “It’s only part of the plan in terms of an inclusive growth deal for this city and region,” Colr. Duffy said, adding that there also needed to be further engagement with the Irish government and the European Union to address “the imbalance we have seen here in the North West”.