27/06/2002

Partnership a necessity for regional reconstruction: Durkan

Deputy First Minister Mark Durkan has emphasised the need to work in partnership as the Executive endeavours to rebuild the regional landscape of Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT), the Deputy First Minister said that co-operation is the cornerstone of building both sustainable communities and an inclusive society.

Mr Durkan said: "I am a strong supporter and advocate for the concept of partnership. Within the Executive’s Programme for Government the principles or partnership are central to our approach to the delivery of services for all the people of Northern Ireland. The principle is simple – co-operation, not conflict, is the cornerstone of building sustainable communities and an inclusive society.

"I recently, with David Trimble, negotiated a financial package that through partnership will allow the rebuilding of the infrastructure around us, our hospitals, our schools, our roads and many other utilities. In order to maximise this unique opportunity, we have to harness the skills of our public sector, the will of our voluntary sector and the drive of our private sector to deliver the dynamic development we seek.

"The enterprise and expertise of social partners, which has done so much to drive regeneration and reconciliation in our communities, can now join with government as it endeavours to change our regional landscape."

The Deputy First Minister praised the work of the Ulster Community Investment Trust and its commitment to encouraging the growth of communities in Northern Ireland, which he said was a "pathfinder role".

"We need organisations such as UCIT to continue with this pathfinding work, breaking new ground and never ceasing in a desire to help to rebuild, regenerate and renew," he said.

UCIT provides loan funding to the community economic development sector (including housing associations, local Enterprise Agencies and Regeneration Schemes) throughout Northern Ireland and neighbouring border counties.

(SP)


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