UUP East Londonderry Westminster candidate Cllr Richard Holmes was spoken of his fears for the constituency if the current trend of economic failure continues.
“The campaign trail has taken me all across this constituency and the number one issue that comes up on the doors is the need for jobs. It seems the only growth industry we have is Translink taking people to Belfast to work. This fig leaf is all that disguises the fact that we are effectively Northern Ireland’s redundancy capital.
“What was once an economic powerhouse has been left destitute with the loss of private sector jobs from Seagate to Farm Fed and the hit we have taken in the loss of DVLA jobs and further relocation of public sector jobs from the area.
“Another recurring theme is the high street, with the loss of big name shops, drop in footfall and general dissatisfaction with what is on offer.
“Such has been the downturn in East Londonderry, one can rightly ask: has our MP been asleep at the wheel?
“Whilst canvassing I find the words to Springsteen’s, ‘My City Of Ruins’, most poignant: “The boarded up windows, The empty streets, While my brother’s down on his knees, My city of ruins.” I have to ask: ‘Is this what we have become? How to we rise from here?’
“These are not easy questions. They require a long term focused plan. Insulting comments on the Irish language may go down well with some, but they do not put money in the bank and food on the table. An MP needs to respect all and serve all. A consistent focus on the key issues is required by whoever we elect as MP.
“Speaking as a local businessman, as well as a candidate, we need an MP who is a Champion. An MP to pull the disparate agencies of government and the private sector together to help develop the long term plan. We need inward investment alongside supporting entrepreneurs. An MP on the world stage to meet with inward investors to attract them in – the heavy lifting and not just the photographs. Our high streets need lower rates and less ministerial visits unveiling defunct masterplans.
“If elected as the MP for East Londonderry on Thursday, I will use my skills and ability to drive this area forward for everyone. It is time to ‘rise up, my city of ruins.’”