Donegal council to take greater role in north west ‘development’

Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness.
Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness.

Derry can expect closer involvement from Donegal County Council in community and development plans for the North West, the NI Assembly has been told.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness recently updated the Assembly on the latest work of the North-South Ministerial Council.

Mr McGuinness said that a cross-border project set up to encourage economic growth in Derry, Limavady, Strabane and Donegal was back under discussion.

The Deputy First Minister said that he had been in “very interesting discussions” with the government in the Republic of Ireland on an economic project known as the North West Gateway Initiative.

The initiative was set up to focus on growing the economy in a cross border region taking in Donegal, Derry, Limavady and Strabane.

Mr McGuinness said work is ongoing at both Donegal County Council and the new Derry City and Strabane super-council to jointly “develop local and cross-border community and development plans”.

He said: “We had a very good discussion on the north-west gateway imitative at the meeting, and our respective officials have consulted relevant Departments on the views expressed by stakeholders on the direction and priorities for the north-west. They have also met the chief executives of Donegal County Council and the shadow Derry City and Strabane District Council, which will come into being on 1 April. We understand that work is being progressed jointly by them to develop local and cross-border community and development plans.

“They will be important contributors to future development in the north-west and have offered to brief Ministers on their plans. We have asked our officials to make the necessary arrangements for a ministerial meeting in the north-west, to be held in May. Once the details and the programme have been confirmed, we will write to relevant ministerial colleagues, inviting them to attend.”