Ministerial meeting in May to discuss NW development plan

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Ministers from Belfast and Dublin plan to meet next month to decide how a decade old initiative to better develop the Londonderry, Limavady and Donegal areas will proceed.

The North West Gateway Initiative (NWGI) was originally announced at a British Irish Intergovernmental Conference in May 2006 and was recently listed as an outstanding commitment in the Stormont House Agreement.

Now the First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have confirmed officials are working towards a Ministerial level meeting in May to discuss the ‘outstanding’ NWGI.

The Ministers revealed the discussions in response to an Assembly Question from Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin.

The Ministers stated: “The issues pertaining to the North West were...raised as part of the negotiations leading up to the Stormont House Agreement and leading on from that we are now jointly Chairing a Ministerial Working Group that will consider the economic needs of the North West, and the potential for further investment to promote growth and prosperity.

“While focussing initially on the North West, it will in due course examine other regions with identified economic needs.

“Recently we met with Charlie Flanagan TD, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Minister Sean Sherlock TD at a North South Institutional meeting in Belfast. Our respective officials have consulted relevant Departments on the views expressed by stakeholders on the direction and priorities for the North West. Officials have also met the Chief Executives of Donegal County Council and the shadow Derry City and Strabane District Council.

“We are now working towards a meeting between Ministers, North and South, in May to decide how the North West Gateway Initiative will proceed.”