Donnelly says industrial strategy needs to be a priority

Alliance representative Stephen Donnelly has said an industrial strategy needs to be a priority for any new Executive, after a construction company said it was considering closing its plant in Magherafelt.

Acheson and Glover said it would be consulting with its workforce over the potential closure, which could see the loss of up to 45 jobs. The company said it was “directly linked” to the delay or cancellation of building projects in the wake of the Brexit referendum, which had created “uncertainty in the marketplace”.

“It is a matter of deep regret if these job losses go ahead and my thoughts are with the workforce in this time of insecurity,” said Mr Donnelly.

“There is no question the construction sector has been damaged by the ongoing political impasse. Funds which would normally have been allocated by the Executive in monitoring rounds and which would have gone to minor works have not happened. In this specific case, the lack of roads maintenance and repair has been a factor.

“Brexit has rightly been identified as a cause for market instability. Unfortunately, the downward trend will likely continue, as the overall economy contracts and Brexit brings a new level of uncertainty to proceedings.

“Jobs are easy to lose but difficult to replace. We need a functioning Executive delivering a industrial strategy as a matter of urgency to ensure we are creating specialist workers and addressing the shortage of skills in many areas.”

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