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Derry city deal: £210m funding package for north west 'transformational'

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The funding will be aimed in boost the economy in the north west. (Paul Faith/PA)

The funding will be aimed in boost the economy in the north west. (Paul Faith/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

The funding will be aimed in boost the economy in the north west. (Paul Faith/PA)

A £210m funding package for the north west has been hailed as potentially "transformational" for the region's economy.

On Monday, the Executive agreed to match UK Government funding for the Londonderry and Strabane City Deal and Inclusive Future Funds.

This brings the total cash injection for the region to £210m, which will be aimed at creating jobs, improving infrastructure and boosting economic growth.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood MP said he hopes some of the money will go towards the expansion of Ulster University's Magee campus in Derry.

"Investing in skills and providing our talented young people with the opportunity to live, work and set down roots here is essential to building sustainable communities that thrive," he added.

“This has been a long time coming. We have been forced to wait for far too long for the chance to build more for our people and our communities. Now that we’ve secured the potential of the City Deal, we can’t take our foot off the pedal.

"We need to turn the page on the years of neglect and under-investment by expanding our university, investing in our young people and delivering new opportunities.”

Foyle DUP MLA Gary Middleton said the funding will progress some key projects in the area, such as the Maritime Museum at Ebrington, the Walled City Experience and the redevelopment of Queens Quay.

"The DUP ensured that City Deals were part of the confidence and supply agreement in 2017 with the aim of ensuring that all of Northern Ireland benefited. The additional funding for all City Deals announced today is welcome news during this difficult time.

I particularly want to put on record my thanks to my party colleagues within the Executive and all parties who worked collectively with all of the key stakeholders over the past few years to get this over the line. This is a significant step forward.”

Sinn Fein MLA Martina Anderson said the package was "transformative for the entire north west region".

“Following years of unrelenting Tory austerity which has deprived Derry, Strabane and the wider region of much-needed public services and investment, we can see the clear benefits of having a local Executive in place," she said.

“Crucial to this has been the role of Sinn Fein Finance Minister Conor Murphy and his determination to ensure that this administration redresses regional inequalities by investing where it is required.

“While we will always have much to do, particularly in the face of a global pandemic crisis, this funding and last week’s rescue package for City of Derry Airport will be central to our economic recovery when the crisis has ended.

“It will also be fundamental to ensuring we realise the vast economic potential of the entire north west region in the longer term.”

Finance Minister Conor Murphy has also announced funding packages for other Northern Ireland regions, including £700m for the Belfast region (which includes Antrim and Newtownabbey, Ards and North Down, Lisburn and Castlereagh, Mid and East Antrim and Newry and Mourne council areas), £252m for the Mid, South and West, and £72 million for Causeway Coast and Glens.

Belfast Telegraph