Michelle O’Neill says Derry has ‘made huge strides’ and ‘ship is turning to a better future’

Michelle O’Neill said Derry has made ‘huge strides forward’ and struck an optimistic note during a visit to the city for a series of engagements on Tuesday.

Progress on the £250m City Deal and the success of the Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) at Magee were singled out for mention by the First Minister designate among recent developments as she made a whistle-stop visit.

She was in Derry to talk to business and civic leaders ‘about the continued journey of transformation in this city and making it a fantastic place to work and live and invest’.

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“There have been huge strides made forward over the course of recent years and we want to see that continued into the future. I'm looking forward to the discussion and the engagement: how we can, in partnership, do more for the people living in this city and for the wider north west,” she explained.

First Minister designate Michelle O'Neill in Derry with, from left, former Finance Minister and Newry and Armagh MLA Conor Murphy, the Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Sandra Duffy, and Foyle MLAs, Ciara Ferguson and Pádraig Delargy.
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The Sinn Féin Vice-President acknowledged efforts to realise Derry’s full potential have been hamstrung by the lack of an Executive but chose to emphasis recent positives.

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“There has been major transformation in this city over the course of recent years. We've had the fantastic announcement of the City Deal and what it is going to mean in creating jobs and for the local economy and investment in this area.

“I think that's been long overdue and is very much welcome. We have also seen the medical school and Magee and obviously further developments there.

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“I think there has been a whole combination of things that have been turning the ship here and I think will lead to a better future,” she stated.

However, the Sinn Féin leader said she accepted the growth of Gross Value Added (GVA) in Derry is only part of the picture and that the political parties need to ensure the needs of the local community are met.

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“It can't all be focused on job creation. We have to also be focused on ensuring people have a house, a roof over their heads. I think there is so much we can do here if we work together with the business community, with the local community sector, with all the political parties in the city who are working together to build a better future for the people of the north west,” she stated.