Sinéad McLaughlin laments being unable to raise Radio Foyle and disparity in Derry job creation with ministers

Sinéad McLaughlin has said the lack of an Assembly means she can’t question ministers about projected job cuts at Radio Foyle or a regional imbalance that saw 1,600 jobs created in Belfast last year but only 67 in Derry.
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The SDLP MLA was speaking on Wednesday as the Stormont Assembly sat and failed for the fifth time to elect a Speaker.

“I want to be asking the Communities Minister how they might be able to intervene to prevent the potential closure of Radio Foyle. I want to be questioning the Economy Minister to explain why over 1,600 jobs were created in Belfast last year and only 67 in Derry.

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"However, none of that is possible. Therefore I am unable to fully represent and serve the people of Foyle. Each time that we have to meet to nominate a Speaker, the DUP refuse to act,” she said.

Sinéad McLaughlinSinéad McLaughlin
Sinéad McLaughlin

The Foyle MLA said there was ‘very little Christmas cheer’ and ‘no Christmas miracle’.

"There is very little Christmas cheer around Stormont today and certainly no Christmas miracle. Today, the DUP will leave this Building having refused once again to do their job and expecting once again their constituencies to foot the bill.

"I have no doubt that, in the days ahead, we will hear DUP politicians on the airwaves to defend their decision — defending how they stopped government here because they were not getting their own way.

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"I do not know how they have the nerve, but, then again, I do not know they have the nerve to do a lot of things. The nerve to call for a £600 payment scheme to be delivered from outside this Chamber while they refuse to take their seats inside this Chamber.

"The nerve to hold up government because they do not like the consequences of the political decision in 2016 that they campaigned for. The nerve to stand for election, sign up for their wages but not take their seats,” she said.

The Derry MLA warned that as the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement approaches the ongoing impasse is having a damaging effect.

“With each day that passes, we preside over failed politics. Our young people lose hope for their future and for this place,” she said.