Minister visits Gilford to discuss social issues

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GILFORD deserves more attention from the Executive following a number of difficult blows in recent years.

That’s the view of Upper Bann MP David Simpson who welcomed Nelson McCausland MLA, Minister for Social Development to the town to discuss issues relating to renewal and funding.

Speaking after the Minister met with Banbridge District Council officers, David Simpson described the meeting as useful.

“This was a useful opportunity to have the Minister along to spend some time in the area and to see some areas where there is a need for regeneration and renewal,” he said.

“I took the opportunity to get Minister McCausland to tour Gilford, both to inspect the new Gilford Community Centre and also to see for himself some areas where there is still a need for investment in the town.

“This was a welcome opportunity in that even though much of the ministerial responsibility for areas like Gilford lie with other Ministers and departments it is still valuable for him to be fully informed of the needs in towns such as Gilford in order that he can use his influence around the Executive table to help the case for Gilford.

“Gilford suffered a succession of blows to its community and economy in recent years. Among these were the impact of the closure of Gilford Mill which created inner city socio-economic characteristics in the area with high unemployment, excess housing stock and derelict buildings.

“The most recent blow was the loss of its dedicated library provision.

“Along with council officials I took the opportunity to press the case for Gilford to be high up the list of Executive priorities. One of the requirements of political office is to show leadership and that sometimes means pressing Executive Ministers even when they are party colleagues.

“It is something that some representatives shy away from, but we are elected to represent the people and put their interests ahead of our own and put their future ahead of our own political ambitions.”

“Along with Assembly and Council colleagues I will continue to press for greater Ministerial focus on Gilford as it moves forward.”