West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Boyle welcomes Minister's announcement that DARD Direct Office is to be located in Strabane

Published: 8 May, 2013

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Michaela Boyle has welcomed confirmation from Agriculture Minister Michelle O Neill that she intends to locate a DARD Direct Office in Strabane which will accommodate 40 staff offering a "one stop shop" service to the local farming community.

The local MLA was given the news today during a requested meeting with the Minister, as part of an ongoing lobby of all Assembly Ministers in which pressing the case for the re-location of jobs from within their respective Departments to Strabane given that the District has among the lowest public sector workers base in the north.

Responding to the Ministerial announcement the local MLA said,

"This announcement is a timely boost for Strabane and particularly for the local economy which has experienced so many set-backs in recent years. The locating of 40 public sector jobs will have a beneficial spin off for other local businesses and services and opens up the possibility, down the line for local civil servants, to transfer within and across Departments so that they can be closer to home.

"The local farming community will be particularly delighted at this announcement as they will be able to access the full range of frontline and administrative services at a "one stop shop."
"The Minister's announcement is further evidence of Sinn Fein's continuing commitment to decentralise public sector jobs within areas of our Departmental responsibility in an effort to address historical regional imbalance in the economy.

"At the end of March I wrote to all Assembly Ministers asking, in the context of the Programme for Government's (2011-2015) commitment to address this regional imbalance, what consideration they were giving to creating and/or decentralizing public sector jobs from within their respective departments to Strabane District.

"Today's announcement is a welcome step in this rebalancing process, but I along with other local party elected representatives will be continuing to press for other such announcements."