Official admits delays in realising One Plan

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A top civil servant has admitted there’s been slippage in meeting OFMDFM’s One Plan commitments with just £16.5million of an anticipated £23m invested in the Ebrington site and just 861 of a hoped-for 1,200 jobs promotedlast year.

Henry Johnston blamed delays in completing the Ebrington development framework, slippage with a number of capital projects and the fragile financial environment.

“Overall, £16.5 million of the envisaged £23 million has been invested on the Ebrington site due to delays in getting the Ebrington development framework complete and slippage with a number of capital projects, particularly in 2014/15,” said the OFMDFM director.

“That said, the Walled City Brewery has now opened in building 70, with the creation of 10 jobs. Building 80-81 has been refurbished and is now a creative industries hub to help small businesses grow.

“In addition, a combined cafe and bicycle workshop will open later in the summer. These ventures are the first new businesses operating permanently on the site and will hopefully pave the way for further enterprise.

“In addition, DOE has leased building 71 at Ebrington and set up a regional office for the Minister and the chief planner,” he said.

In terms of job creation Mr Johnston told the OFMDFM Committee: “There were challenging targets in the Programme for Government for job creation, and, very positively, those were exceeded in 2012/13 and 2013/14. However, the job promotion target for 2014/15 was 1,200 new jobs promoted in the city.

“That was challenging in the fragile financial environment. Year-in returns from Invest, Departments and Derry City Council show that only 861 jobs have been promoted, which is only 70 per cent of the target.

“However, an additional 113 jobs have been safeguarded, and 35 R&D jobs at Seagate have been created. Overall, on the PFG target for the three years, the total number of jobs promoted amounted to 3,700 or over 90 per cent of the target of 4,045.”