‘No better time for all-island economic cooperation’ – Ritchie
Achieving economic prosperity and creating hope for the future, for our young people and their families, is the top priority for the SDLP. That was the message delivered by SDLP South Down MP at the “Job Creation and the Island Economy” in the Armagh City Hotel last Thursday.
Speaking after the event which focused on the economic and job opportunities from greater practical all-island economic cooperation, Ms Ritchie said:
“Rising unemployment figures in Northern Ireland, released yesterday, paint a challenging picture. 300 people have joined the dole queue in May bringing the total claiming benefits here to 62,600. These figures present us with 62, 600 reasons to build on existing, and find new and exciting job opportunities on this island so we can deliver a better future for our young people who currently feel they have no option but to flee our shores.
“We need to be more ambitious for our economy. With the challenging economic outlook North and South there is no better time to progress North-South co-operation and save money through new economies of scale, reduced duplication, increased specialisation and to maximise research and innovation. The agri-food, bio-technology and IT sectors present key all-island growth industries. These sectors are vital in lifting us out of recession, stimulating job creation and creating hope for future generations.”
Ritchie continued, “Rather than cheering the boom and booing the bust, we have to focus on, support and cultivate our growth sectors, give greater assistance to SMEs and help them lead the way for the future of our economy.
“I am delighted at the dynamic range of business people, academics and experts who have all contributed to this conference today. It is crucial that we listen to them and ensure that government and business work in better partnership if we are to capitalise on the economic opportunities this island has to offer,” she added.