Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on Environment Minister Alex Attwood to make the development of the cross border science park at Fort George a top priority. Ms Anderson was speaking after it was announced that a £12 million funding application for the project has been approved.
The MEP welcomed the news and called for the project to move forward quickly so the money can be spent within the allotted timeframe.
“This is more positive news for Derry and the North West’s economy. The application for £12 million Satellite Science Park for the Fort George site was given approval by the Executive Steering Group in May.
“As Junior Minister at the time I received the active support of Finance Minister Sammy Wilson in ensuring that the project would pass through the remaining stages of EU approval without delay,” she said.
Ms Anderson said the development of the science park will be a major boost to the local economy.
“Following my approach to Minister Wilson concerning the slow progress on this project from the Special European Union Programmes Body he contacted the SEUPB and received assurances that the matter was being processed and that a final decision should be made as a matter of urgency. On assuming the role of MEP, one of my first meetings was with the SEUPB to discuss the Science Park.
“We now have confirmation of the delivery of this project. Ilex, in collaboration with the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, can work to stimulate the establishment and development of high-quality technology and knowledge-based businesses in the North West Region, attracting higher value added inward investment projects and jobs to the region,” she explained.
Planning permission for the development has been sought and the notification appears in today’s paper.
Ms Anderson called for the plans to be dealt with as soon as possible and called on the Environment Minister Alex Attwood to do all he can to assist the project.
“I am confident that recognising the importance of this project to developing the jobs potential and the economy of the North West that Derry City Council, ILEX and Letterkenny Institute of technology will pull out all the stops to bring this project to fruition.
“The ball is now in Environment Minister Alex Attwood’s court to make sure that it passes through the planning process without any delay.
“I call on the Minister to place this project at the top of his priorities. I will maintain a watchful eye on this project and look forward to its successful conclusion with the delivery of much needed high value jobs and a welcome injection of finance into the North West’s economy,” Ms Anderson said.