Bertie Ahern says many in Derry do not feel they have ‘benefited greatly’ from GFA peace dividend

Bertie Ahern has again acknowledged many people in Derry do not feel they have benefited greatly from any peace dividend arising from the Good Friday Agreement.

The former Taoiseach – a key architect of the 1998 peace deal – made the remarks at a briefing of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on Monday.

Mr. Ahern acknowledged a sense from within loyalist communities across the north that they have not gained from the new dispensation created by the GFA.

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But he reminded the committee that this was not only true for working-class unionist areas.

Bertie Ahern with Tony Blair

“There are many nationalist communities that have not benefited greatly either. I met some people from Derry yesterday that feel - even under recent funds - none of it went to that end of the province,” he said.

It is the second time in recent months Mr. Ahern has lamented the slow pace of economic development in the north west.

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Last October he told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, Derry had not benefitted from the peace in the way it had been hoped in the 1990s.

Back then he said: "In terms of growth and development, NI has done well but I would have hoped 25 years ago that the rising tide would have lifted all boats fairly equally. That did not happen.

"It is still a challenge. That point applies particularly to some areas, for example in Belfast but also in Derry, where people feel they have not seen the lift they should have seen.”

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