Sheamus Greene

‘Disgraceful’ jobs agency attacked over Fermangh spendi

FERMANAGH is being “starved” of investment, with the county receiving less support from Invest NI than any other part of the North.
Over the past five years, Invest NI have offered only £13.51 million to help Fermanagh businesses, £2.7 million per year. That is compared to £298.4 million in Antrim, for example, and £124.78 million for Down.
The figures were revealed after Cllr Sheamus Greene submitted a Freedom of Information request to Invest NI. Cllr Greene called the figures “disgraceful” and said they showed “a huge disparity in per capita spending.”
“Invest NI are offering £97 per capita per year in Co Antrim, but only £44 per capita per year in Co Fermanagh which sits bottom of the list,” said Cllr Greene, who pointed out much of the funding was allocated while Fermanagh woman Arlene Foster was minister for the Department for the Economy.
The Brookeborough man also pointed out Antrim and Down received over twice as much over five years, £422 million, than Fermanagh, Tyrone, Derry and Armagh combined, which totalled £210 million.
“The chronic lack of investment in border counties is disgraceful,” Cllr Greene continued. “It has devastated our rural communities since partition, causing high rates of emigration among young people and de-populating rural communities.”
Urging local businesses people to be aware of the opportunities from Invest NI and to avail of them, Cllr Greene said you didn’t have to look too far across the border to see examples of where investment in rural areas has paid off.
“In Lough Egish, Co Monaghan, a place which is little more than a crossroads has approximately 15 factories, some employing in excess of 100 people. This rural cross-roads has more industry than the entire county town of Enniskillen,” he said.
Cllr Greene concluded: “Small and medium businesses are really struggling and Invest NI should be proactive in supporting them. We need to see increased investment in rural areas so that our families and young people can continue to live in our community and be provided with work to do so. This will strengthen our rural communities and allow them to thrive rather than continue to be decimated.”

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