Gordon Lyons tells Sinéad McLaughlin to 'talk up' Derry as she questions FDI disparity

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons this week told Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin to 'talk up her constituency and city' after she urged more state investment in Derry.

Figures released this month by the Economy Minister show that in the last ten years (2011/12 to 2021/22) there were 25 times more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) related visits to Belfast than to Derry.

There were 67 FDI visits to Foyle, compared with 1,649 to Belfast: South Belfast, 923; East Belfast, 346; North Belfast, 286; and West Belfast, 94.

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Figures recently released to Mrs. McLaughlin from Mr. Lyons show there was one Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) related visits to Derry in 2020/21 out of five in total across the north.

Sinéad McLaughlin

Speaking in the Assembly this week, the Foyle SDLP MLA said: "Based...on the fact that In 2020 alone, ten times more jobs were created in Belfast than in my constituency, will the upcoming review of Invest NI deal once and for all with the decades of imbalance west of the Bann? It needs to be tackled for the whole of Northern Ireland because, if parts of our Province are not supported, the rest of us will all fail."

Mr. Lyons replied: "We have had this conversation, a number of times, about the review of Invest NI. The Member knows full well that Invest NI will look at all that: investment west of the Bann, outside Belfast and right across Northern Ireland.

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"I want to give the Member some good news. Over the last number of weeks, I have had the opportunity, in Northern Ireland, to speak to some foreign direct investors. Invest NI had taken those investors to the north-west and shown them what it has to offer.

"They are talking very positively about the north-west. Invest NI is doing that work and bringing those investors to the area. I think that we will see good news announcements coming out of that.

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"I gently encourage the Member to talk up her constituency and city. I do not want someone to be googling the conversations that we have here and getting a negative view about Londonderry and the north-west. There is much that is good happening there and much good work that Invest NI has done and will continue to do."