SDLP Group Leader on Derry City and Strabane District Council Gerard Diver, has urged the larger parties represented around the Executive table to do more for Derry and Strabane. Speaking after the striking of the rate for the new council Councillor Diver said.
“I welcome the fact that Sinn Fein have said that they are up for the challenge of meeting the needs of the citizens of Derry and Strabane as the largest party on the new council. They must now act with the DUP to convince their colleagues around the Executive table to address the severe economic inequality suffered by the people of this council area.
“Sinn Fein and the DUP have nine ministers and two junior ministers between them, and are therefore in a supreme position to influence Executive policy, for example in respect of pressing for the expansion of the Magee campus and ensuring that funds are ring-fenced for this purpose rather than diverted to Belfast.
“This runs to the heart of just how serious the Executive is about addressing deprivation and inequality on a regional and sub regional basis. Derry City and Strabane District Council has been particularly and disproportionately affected by government cutbacks and the effects of non domestic revaluation in Strabane in particular during this rates setting process. Aside from the efforts of the DOE minister Mark H Durkan, little has been done by his Executive colleagues to address this injustice.
“The SDLP will continue to pressure the Executive to put resources where there is greatest need and that is here in Derry and Strabane.”