New Deal, New Approach working group for Derry : Stormont Executive warned to deliver on its own pledges

Derry City and Strabane District Council has called on the Stormont Executive to immediately create a specific North West Working Group to lead on the delivery of commitments made to the region in ‘New Decade, New Approach’.

By Gillian Anderson
Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 11:38 am

The council will now establish its own New Decade, New Approach Working Group to focus on identifying commitments relating to the Derry City and Strabane area to deliver transformational change and compel the NI Office, the British and Irish governments to deliver on them.

The motion was brought before full council by SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney who said: “New Decade, New Approach has a number of commitments within it which I believe will have a positive impact on the lives of all the people of this area if delivered effectively and appropriately, just like the City Deal. Currently there is no one driving our lobby for those commitments in New Decade, New Approach to be delivered. It’s my view that the lobby for the City Deal only really got off the ground when Councillor Martin Reilly proposed that council support it in 2014. We now need focussed efforts to get the commitments delivered for New Decade, New Approach and we need someone leading the charge.

“We all know there is no British Minister, no Irish Government Minister or even any Minister in the Executive that is going to land in Derry any time soon with funding commitment unless this council and everyone in it is putting on a strong show of force to lobby them. This isn’t about party politics, it’s about delivery and this council leading the way.”

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Councillor Brian Tierney.

Sinn Fein Colr. Sandra Duffy called for ‘clarity’ on the commitments agreed in the deal saying: “This has to be welcomed after many decades of under investment and in fact deliberate dis-investment.

“This cannot be another false dawn for Derry and the north west, we need clarity on the many specific commitments, we need clarity of the financial commitments of both governments and we need clarity by whoever is responsible for taking these commitments forward.”

Independent Councillor Paul Gallagher was concerned the new working group would be a duplication of the one already established for the City Deal. “We have seen many things in it that have gone nowhere, are going nowhere and won’t go anywhere,” he said.

Proposing an amendment calling on the Stormont Executive to immediately create a specific North West Working Group to lead on the delivery of commitments made to the region, People Before Profit Colr. Shaun Harkin asked: “Why has this been thrown back on us, shouldn’t the Stormont Executive be taking the lead on committing and following through on things they signed up to? We need to put it back on the Stormont Executive to deliver and make them responsible for what they committed to.”

DUP Ald. Maurice Devenney agreed saying: “We should use every opportunity we can to maximise our support for City Deal and NDNA to deliver for the City, Strabane and District.”

The amendment and the substantive motion carried.

By Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter

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