‘Big job’ ahead for Ilex

ILEX chief executive Aideen McGinley. (2202PG21)
ILEX chief executive Aideen McGinley. (2202PG21)

Ilex boss Aideen McGinley has vowed to adopt key proposals made in a report critical of the body’s progress in transforming Derry.

A report by consultants BDO, states that stakeholders consider its performance “disappointing”. However, Ms McGinley believes the criticism is something to be “built on” by the urban regeneration company.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday, the Ilex CEO acknowledged the criticism which centred mostly on the lack of delivery of physical development at the Ebrington and Fort George sites.

The document states that Ilex’s performance was deemed “poor” in its first years but adds that it had later “turned a corner”.

It also acknowledges the leadership, focus and stability that Ms McGinley and Chair Sir Roy McNulty had brought to the company over the last few years.

Ms McGinley said the report should be seen as an “endorsment” of the work carried out in recent times.

“We have to see this report and its recommendations as an opportunity to go forward. I see it as an endorsement,” she said.

She said that the recommendations included in the document would be fully investigated.

“We have a big job ahead in delivering regeneration for Derry and this report will help us to set out the way ahead.” She admitted that there are a number of key recommendations in the report both for the “internal workings of Ilex and external workings”. She highlighted the “sharpening of targets” as a major priority along with “aligning business plans with regeneration plans”.

Ms McGinley confirmed that the reference to “poor” performance in the early years of Ilex did not mean she had been failed by the lack of progress made by her predecessors.

‘Slow burn’

She said that similar projects in other cities had in all cases experienced “slow burn” but once they got going were “moved on quite quickly”. She added: “We don’t want bright shiny places, we want things that work or those who need it most. That comes at a price of time and effort which we have taken criticism for but in the end it is important that we get it right.”

The findings of the public report were given to the First and Deputy First Ministers, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, as well as the Social Development Minister, Alex Attwood, on Friday.