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Community groups highlight ‘economic crisis’ in north west during meeting with US Congressman Richard Neal


Congressman Richard Neal meets community groups during his visit to Derry.

Congressman Richard Neal meets community groups during his visit to Derry.

Congressman Richard Neal meets community groups during his visit to Derry.

Community groups in Derry city have spoken to Congressman Richard Neal about a growing “economic crisis” in the north west region and rising tensions brought about by Brexit and the UK Government’s legacy proposals.

Creggan Enterprises were invited by the International Fund for Ireland and the US Consulate to speak to a US Congress delegation (Chaired by Rep Richie Neal) on Wednesday, on a visit to Creggan, alongside cross-community workers from the Northwest Cultural Partnership and the BBI Peace Walls Project.

The event hosted by the International Fund for Ireland at Rath Mor, which brought together a number of community groups who told the Congressional visitors of their concerns in respect of increased “political and community instability”, and the reality of a growing “economic crisis” in the north west in recent years.

Conal McFeely of Creggan Enterprises addressed the delegation by saying: “The visit is most welcome at this time of great community uncertainty caused by the British Government’s divisive Brexit and Legacy proposals, which are increasing community tensions and causing great hurt, political instability, and further social and economic disadvantage at this time of great need.”

The delegation heard robust commentary from the diverse groups who raised the many consequences impacting their community as a result of these issues.

Mr McFeely stressed the importance of reaching out inclusively and to hear the voices of grass-roots organisations who inevitably have to deal with the outworking and consequences of these failures of political governance.

The delegation responded very positively to the discussion and highlighted US commitment to supporting grass roots engagement and development on this island, and commended the International Fund for Ireland for their longstanding investment in peacebuilding within marginalized communities.

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The delegation also took what time they had left in their tight schedule to speak to a number of Creggan residents who they encountered in the public mall at Rath Mor.

Mr Neal Neal said: “We had the privilege of meeting with the unsung heroes of Creggan Enterprises, where we listened and learned about how their social and economic investments are transforming their beloved city for a brighter, more prosperous future for all.”

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