29/10/2019

Political Stalemate Prevents L'Derry City Deal

Leader of the SDLP Colum Eastwood has warned local politicians they are denying the North West of critical funding as the political stalemate at Stormont continues.

The Foyle MLA made the call after it emerged that any benefit from the L'Derry and Strabane City Deal is depending on the restoration of devolved government, depriving the region of millions of pounds of investment.

Stormont's institutions have been suspended for almost three years, during which time local education and health services have fallen into financial crisis. Announced in May, the deal would see the region receive £105 million in government funding.

Mr Eastwood called for reform of the petition of concern, a key sticking point in past negotiation attempts, to facilitate a return to the NI Assembly.

"How much longer are we going to have to endure growing hospital waiting lists, school budgets in freefall and our best and brightest young people leaving this island because two parties refuse to compromise and form a government? The strategy of stalemate and boycott has failed and it is continuing to fail those who need a government most.

"Today we have further confirmation that the City Deal money which is needed to upgrade transport infrastructure, expand our university and create new jobs is dependent on a functioning devolved government.

"We are all being held to ransom."

The SDLP Leader concluded: "This city and the North West cannot afford to delay investment in people, communities and jobs any longer. It should be a political and personal priority for all of us."



(JG/CM)

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