MLA wants Derry jobs claim proof

Photo Lorcan Doherty
Photo Lorcan Doherty

Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson have been challenged to prove their claim that Derry’s job target for 2012/13 has been met.

Responding to an Assembly Question from the Derry SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood, the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) confirmed that the One Plan target of 1,175 job announcements in Derry during the 2012-13 financial year has been exceeded.

But OFMDFM has not revealed how many of the jobs promoted locally were actually created during the year.

Mr Eastwood said he is “dismayed at the delay” in OFMDFM revealing just how many jobs have been created locally between March 2012 and March this year.

OFMDFM stated: “Research and monitoring across government departments, Derry City Council and the private and community sectors indicates that 1,180 jobs were promoted in 2012/13.

“An additional 10 jobs have now been accepted following a meeting of the Jobs Sub-Group, held on 8 November 2013, and these have been added to the total jobs promoted figure.”

However, when Mr Eastwood requested a full breakdown by firm in terms of jobs promoted and created, he was told that figures are not yet available.

The Derry assemblyman has challenged OFMDFM to prove the claim that the target was met by stating clearly where the jobs have been promoted.

“Should the target for promoting new jobs in Derry be met for 2013 then that is to be warmly welcomed. However, if this target has been achieved then OFMDFM should demonstrate in detail how it has been done.

“What’s more, it is imperative that jobs promoted are actually created on the ground in the city. I call on the first and deputy first ministers to clearly detail which firms these jobs have been promoted by in Derry. They must also reveal, as a matter of urgency, how many of the jobs announced have been realised to date or have set time frames for being rolled out.The people of Derry deserve more than simple indications that jobs have been announced. OFMDFM must back up its claims with hard facts and show clearly how and where the jobs target has been met,” he said.