Down Councillors Cadogan Enright and Dermot Curran have succeeded in establishing a cross-party sub-committee to campaign to retain and attract public sector jobs in Downpatrick , and to address years of delays in resolving Roads congestion in the County Town including access to the new Downe Hospital campus.
Cllr Enright said “At the Downpatrick/Lecale electoral area meeting last Thursday, we agreed to campaign on these key issues on a cross-party basis. Downpatrick is the only main hub within 20 miles of Belfast not to have benefited from significant investment to ease congestion, and the development of our ‘Public Sector Campus’ at the new Downe is being affected. The Downshire is unique amongst the 3 main hospitals in the South Eastern Trust area with an inadequate bus service.”
Cllr Curran said, “These issues are crucial to Downpatrick consolidating its role as a public sector jobs hub. At my last meeting as Council Chair in June, I put a motion on the need for the Chief Executive to develop a campaign to address the need to attract and protect public sector jobs following a series of negative announcements. I welcomed improving amendments from Cllr Enright at that time, and this cross-party proposal will give these campaigns teeth.”
Downpatrick area councillors committee chair Cllr Eamonn McConMidhe agreed and said “I welcome this proposal from Dermot and Cadogan. We are taking a similar approach here to our successful all-party Ballyhornan committee. The sub-committee will be empowered to invite our MP, our MLAs and all interested parties to play their role in the campaign as we have done for Ballyhornan. These issues are too important for party politics.”
Down Council Chief executive attended the meeting and supported the move. He has appointed senior council officer Gerry McBride to play the supporting and enabling role for these campaigns.
“The roads and public transport elements of this project are complex, involving the Roads Service, Translink, the Health Trust, emergency services and all the tenants at the new public sector campus at the Downeshire. Having a coordinated approach to public sector employment is no less complex. Since June, Council has sent Freedom of Information requests to all public sector bodies in NI questioning their approach to public sector employment in Down District over the last 5 years, and this is currently being complied to enable us to lobby effectively at Stormont up to and including the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers.”, Concluded Councillor Enright.