MLA’s concern at lack of inward investor visits to ex-army base

Entrance to Shackleton, Ballykelly. INLV0215-413KDR
Entrance to Shackleton, Ballykelly. INLV0215-413KDR

SDLP MLA John Dallat has expressed concerned at news there has only been one visit from a potential inward investor to the former Seagate premises in Limavady and the former army barracks in Ballykelly in the past three years.

Enterprise minister Arlene Foster revealed the news in reply to a written question from East Derry MLA John Dallat asking for the number of potential inward investors that have visited the Limavady area in each of the last three years.

Ms Foster said: “During the current financial year Invest NI has facilitated an inward investment visit by a major, US-owned company that included visits to the former Seagate premises at Dowland Road, Limavady, and the former Shackleton Barracks site in Ballykelly.

“A potential investor’s requirements will vary depending on the nature of the project, but a company will typically look at existing investors in the same business sector (Invest NI’s key target sectors being ICT, business and professional services, financial services and renewables); universities and colleges that offer courses relating to that sector; and suitable, available property.”

Mr Dallat said there had been “high expectations” the ex-army base would attract a large number of potential inward investors.

“Sadly in the current financal year only one US-based company visited the site and that must send the alarm bells ringing that much more needs to be done to maximise the potential for this 700 acre site and prevent it deteriorating into a wilderness,” said Mr Dallat. “It is my view that a special economic task force must be set up to identify what needs to be done to bring more jobs to this economic black spot which has haemorrhaged thousands of jobs over the last 20 years, jobs that have not been replaced.”