The Journal says... The right direction

The new school term began for thousands of children and young people across the north west yesterday. For some it was their first experience of school while for many others it was going back to a familiar routine.

The Stormont Executive started back yesterday too for its first meeting after the long summer recess.

While school pupils may have to wait until the end of term to get a report card, the Executive is held up to scrutiny on a daily basis. How will our ministers perform this term? Will they achieve the high grades they have predicted for themselves?

They got off to a good start for the people of the north west yesterday with the announcement that the headquarters of the Department of Agriculture and Regional Development will be relocating to Ballykelly in county Derry.

This is the fulfilment of a long held Stormont pledge to decentralise civil service departments from Belfast to other parts of the North. With this and other moves, we are finally starting to see the slow trickle of jobs moving away from Belfast to be spread on a more even basis across the North.

It makes sense that a department whose primary concern is agriculture and rural development should be sited in a rural area desperately in need of development.

Hopefully this will herald the shifting of more Stormont departments west of the Bann. If it does then every argument must be made to have at least one in Derry. Such a move would be a bold political statement but, more importantly, it would bring much needed jobs to the city.