Call for political commitment to “properly invest” in Derry ahead of Assembly election

President of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Dawn McLaughlin.

A SENIOR Derry business leader has called on the north's main political parties to commit to “properly invest” in the city ahead of next year's Assembly election.

The President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce Dawn McLaughlin said candidates from all parties must commit to range of measures, including “the full expansion” of the Magee campus.

The comments were made in front of 250 business leaders, politicians, and civic leaders gathered at the Everglades Hotel on Friday night for Derry Chamber's first major event in 18 months.

The chamber president said the pandemic has had a hugely detrimental effect on the North West economy.

“As we begin to come out the other side of the pandemic, the time is now for our ministers and our elected representatives at Stormont to prioritise the North West and deliver for our region,” she said.

Ms McLaughlin said the Derry and Strabane city deal, and the opening of the School of Medicine at Magee earlier this year had been “welcome first steps”.

But she added: “There is much more that needs to be done to address regional inequality in Northern Ireland and level up the North West city region.

“Ahead of the next Assembly election in spring next year, candidates from all political parties must commit to properly invest in our city, create and attract new jobs to our region, and address deficiencies in our economy.”

Alongside further investment in Magee, she called for a transformation of the area's physical infrastructure to improve connectivity to other economic hubs.

The chamber leader also called for better efforts to market the area to businesses and investors and for ‘proper support' for local businesses tyring to rebuild post-pandemic.

“There is now an opportunity for all key partners in our region – business leaders, elected representatives, educational institutions, civic leaders – to work together and make sure the North West builds back as strongly as it can after Covid, prioritising jobs, investment and prosperity for our businesses and our communities,” she added.

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