Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin MLA (Foyle) has called into question Invest NI (INI) commitment to the North West following revelations that almost 50% of its property portfolio in the Derry City Council (DCC) area is vacant.
Maeve McLaughlin said: “Following requests by the Chamber of Commerce about available resources for Industrial/Economic Development in the DCC area Invest NI disclosed that it has 414 acres land holdings in its Derry region portfolio. Of this only 211 acres is presently being utilised.
“With over 200 acres available for economic development I have to ask – what is INI doing to attract investors to these properties? Unemployment is endemic in the Derry City and greater North West Region yet one would be hard-pressed to remember the last announcement by INI of job creation in this area.
“It seems that we are fed a daily diet by INI of job announcements for Belfast while unemployment elsewhere continues to rise. I know of two jobs available in Derry in recent weeks that attracted 250 and 400 applicants respectively.
“While INI insist that it cannot direct investors to particular locations I do not accept that it could not do more to ‘entice’ them to areas of high employee availability.
“I am writing to the CEO of Invest Ni requesting a full inventory of available development properties and an outline of its marketing strategy to attract investors to occupy them.”