13 June 2002 Edition

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Planning incompetence puts Derry jobs at risk

Rejecting a suggested housing moratorium, Sinn Féin's Mitchel McLaughlin says that thousands of construction and related services jobs in Derry are at risk "as a direct result of the inadequate sewage system in Derry and the ham-fisted response of the Environment and Heritage Service to the problem.

"It is essential that the Culmore Water Works is upgraded," he said. "To suggest a moratorium on housing developments in Derry until it is upgraded is akin to using a sledgehammer as a nutcracker, and hitting the wrong nut.

"It is not houses that create waste - it is people. The proposed housing developments are catering for people who are already here. A moratorium will not reduce waste, nor will it prevent the continued pollution of the Foyle basin. It will only jeopardise more than 5000 construction related jobs in the city and region.

"There are approximately 6,500 people employed in construction in Derry. 80% of those - 5,200 people - are employed in housing developments. Any moratorium on housing threatens those jobs without dealing with the problem of waste treatment. My party colleague, Councillor Tony Hassan, has been leading the call for upgrading the Culmore plant for a number of years. He has consistently highlighted the problems of Derry's sewage system to no avail. Now we find that more than 5,000 jobs could be in danger because of the DoE's lack of foresight and forward planning.

"This problem did not appear overnight. It was clearly identified by Councillor Hassan but was not acted upon. Now we have a knee-jerk response from the authorities. The solution is simple. Upgrade the Culmore plant as a matter of urgency. There is enough of a homelessness problem in the Derry area without adding to it through bureaucratic incompetence."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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