STRANGFORD MP Jim Shannon welcomed Shadow Labour Secretary of State Minister Ivan Lewis MP to Ards on one of his first visits to the Province.
Mr Shannon said: “The Shadow Minister has only been in place four months and I extended an invitation to him to visit Newtownards. He started the tour with a visit to Pritchetts Food who employ 197 people – 91% of whom come from Ards. They have 111 milk suppliers across the Ards and further afield and are presently involved in a £15million investment on site that will secure the jobs and the factory’s future.
“Ivan Lewis was very impressed by the visit and the role that food production plays in employment opportunities in the Ards and was keen to hear more about the market that Pritchetts have secured and the contracts that they are presently seeking.
“The next stop was East End Resident’s Association where Ivan Lewis met community groups from Ards and North Down and Ballynahinch again he wanted to hear their opinions on Flags, parades and legacy of the past and what the feelings of the loyalist estates was a very forthright discussions covering all of these issues took place and the Shadow Minister is now very aware of the thinking in local groups and what needs to happen and take place.
“Mr Lewis also wished to meet the Victims Group and a meeting was organised with the RUC Widows Association and retired CI Roy Cairns. He heard at first hand the stories of the widows and the police officers…it’s a story that needs to be told over and over again… the sacrifice, the commitment of the police and the effect upon families to this very day cannot be underlined enough.
Speaking at the end of a very intensive visit, the Welsh Secretary of State said: “I know better now how the local community feels and what they seek, and I was particularly moved by the RUC widows and their stories.
“There are great things happening in the Strangford Constituency and the factory visit and the success of Pritchett Foods gave an insight that only a visit on the ground can make.”]]>