Stormont leadership ‘planning to fail’: Eastwood

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood
SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood has criticised the Stormont leadership for “planning to fail” after it was revealed that Programme for Government targets for the current year have not been set.

Responding to an Assembly question from the Foyle MLA on job targets for Derry in 2015/16, the First Minister and deputy First Minister admitted that “commitments and milestones for the extended Programme for Government” have yet to be decided for the year.

Mr Eastwood had asked for details on 2015/16 job promotion targets for Derry in relation to OFMDFM’s Programme for Government commitment to develop the One Plan.

“Failure to have these targets in place further illustrates the dysfunctionality of the Stormont leadership,” he said.

“We’ve known for two years that the Assembly elections had been put on hold for a year until 2016 - surely that was adequate time to clearly outline extended departmental priorities.

“Proper planning, conducted well in advance, is a basic rule of thumb for government. It is astonishing that the Stormont leadership has no programme of priority targets in place for 2015-16 one month into the financial year.”

Derry, he says, needs investment in job creation.

“It is vital that there are cast iron commitments to this in the extended Programme for Government and the one which follows in 2016,” he added.

“Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson have been challenged in the past on their claims that One Plan targets for jobs announcements in Derry had been exceeded but could not show where the jobs were actually created.

“Now they haven’t even got Programme for Government targets to work towards while Derry remains at the top of the unemployment league table. By failing to plan, they are planning to fail and that is not acceptable.”