Eastwood calls for focus on cross-border economy

Colum Eastwood.
Colum Eastwood.

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood has called for greater co-operation between Dublin and Belfast to foster economic growth in the North West.

Mr Eastwood wants priority to be given to developing the region as envisaged by the North West Gateway Initiative - a framework established to encourage economic growth in the cross-border region area covering Derry, Limavady, Strabane and Donegal.

“The North West region remains a poor relation to the rest of the island when it comes to economic development,” he says. “Decades of neglect have left us playing catch up and it is vital that a strategic inter-governmental approach is prioritised to fuel the growth of our economy.

“A cast-iron commitment is needed from ministers, both north and south of the border, to develop the region in the way envisaged by the North West Gateway Initiative. Through joined-up thinking and cross border co-operation across government departments and agencies, the North West region of Ireland can prosper economically.”

The Foyle MLA says departmental officials from both governments have held meetings to discuss the views expressed by stakeholders on the way forward for the North West Gateway Initiative.

“I now look forward to a positive announcement from ministers north and south on how the initiative will proceed with efficient and effective promotion of economic growth in our region,” he added.

Mr Eastwood has tabled an Assembly question to the First and deputy First Ministers to ascertain when the Executive and the Dublin Government will meet to discuss the way forward for the North West Gateway Initiative.