[Sinn Fein]

13 May 2001

CEO of Intertrade Ireland to address Cross-Border Economic Conference in Sligo

Mayor of Sligo Sean MacManus has announced details of a cross border economic conference to take place in City Hall, Sligo on Tuesday 15th May beginning at 10.30am.  The Chief Executive of the Board of Intertrade Ireland, Mr Liam Nelis,  the Chairperson of the Northern Assembly Enterprise, Trade and  Investment Council, Pat Doherty MLA and the President of Sligo Chamber  of Commerce Jim Lawlor are among the guest speakers.

Amongst those due to attend the conference are the Mayors and Chairpersons of Derry, Strabane, Omagh and Fermanagh District Councils as well as the Chairpersons of Leitrim, Sligo, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan County Councils. The Mayor of Sligo has described the upcoming conference as ``an opportunity to explore and develop ideas and strategies which will focus on and address the needs of the region.

Mayor MacManus said:

This conference will discuss a broad range of economic, social and political issues which play a fundamental part in the life of the region. The marginalisation and exclusion which have been the dominant features of the North West landscape demands a response which will satisfy communities from Sligo to Tyrone, from Leitrim to Fermanagh, from Derry to Donegal and on over to Cavan and Monaghan.

``Such a response must be based on the implementation of radical policies which reflect the All-Ireland nature of the problems which exist and the specific measures that need to be taken to rectify the economic imbalance in the Country which has seen the North-West, and areas such as Sligo/Leitrim in particular, been given second class treatment when it comes to investment, infrastructure and jobs for the region.

``When we look at the decline in rural industry, the disparity in funding and investment for economic development in the north west region, the absence of a comprehensive transport infrastructure, the denial of opportunity through the discriminatory policies of central Governments, then it is clear we need a comprehensive and coherent strategy which will deliver opportunities to our communities.

``This conference is designed to create such a strategy, one which will create and develop an efficient and effective infrastructure, including a proper road and rail network, telecommunication and education services for the region. Without such development, investment and job creation, it is the young people of the region in particular who will suffer needlessly, as in the past, many of them will sadly not have the option of staying, living and working in their home area as should be their right''.

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