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£40m Cookstown investment plan hit by lack of power: MLA

By Joanne Sweeney

A £40m investment in Cookstown by the Dale Farm company has been delayed due to "an insufficient gas and electricity supply", an Mid Ulster MLA has claimed.

The SDLP's Patsy McGlone said that the investment could transform Cookstown and branded the delay another example of the discrimination that towns west of the Bann are facing in their efforts to attract new jobs and businesses.

He argued that the lack of gas and electricity infrastructure to support the planned investment was "totally unacceptable".

And he said he knew from his own experience of visiting the company the extent of the economic benefit it could bring to the surrounding area.

He added: "This is something that we desperately need west of the Bann.

"To add insult to injury, NIE told the company that they should relocate east of the Bann to Ballymena, where they could supply more electricity.

"For a utility like NIE to attempt to entice jobs away from Cookstown is disgraceful.

"I have requested a meeting with the Utility Regulator to look at what can be done to ensure Cookstown and other areas west of the Bann are supplied with the energy infrastructure needed to support industrial investment.

"This is an opportunity that we can't afford to miss and I intend to exhaust every avenue to ensure it happens."

Mr McGlone has also asked for a meeting with NIE's managing director to see what could be done to improve the energy infrastructure west of the Bann.

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