Belfast Telegraph

300 jobs to come on stream by 2021 as Invest NI-backed manufacturing firms expand

By John Mulgrew

A collection of Northern Ireland manufacturers say they are creating almost 300 jobs as part of an overall £22m investment over the next four years. The 30 firms, which have been supported by Invest NI, are in a range of sectors. That includes food, chemicals, pharma and transport equipment.

They include food firm Linwoods in Armagh, fit-out business Marcon, based in Antrim, the Boatyard Distillery in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, and Donite Plastics in Saintfield, Co Down. Together, the firms say they are creating 282 jobs. It's understood some jobs are already in place, with the rest being added over the next four years.

Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI, who unveiled the widespread investment along with Invest NI boss Alastair Hamilton in Craigavon yesterday, said the sector "plays a huge role in the Northern Ireland economy generating annual sales approaching £20bn".

And he said it directly employs 80,000 workers, as well as supporting "production and employment in a wider supply chain and creating jobs and strong communities in every constituency across Northern Ireland".

"SMEs make up 98% of all businesses here in Northern Ireland and are at the very heart of what we do in our manufacturing base," he said. "Week in, week out, companies like this continue to work very hard to keep moving forward, to build and grow our business economy and build communities.

"It is encouraging to see the progress and developments being made by firms across all disciplines. Invest NI is offering valuable support to enable these businesses to create highly skilled, well paid jobs and drive innovation and growth in export markets."

Out of the jobs being created, the majority are based in Armagh with 75, followed by 55 in Antrim, 51 in Londonderry, 46 in Co Down, 33 for Co Tyrone firms and 22 for companies based in Co Fermanagh.

Speaking at the event, Invest NI's chief executive Alastair Hamilton said: "The event is an opportunity to highlight some of the investments manufacturing focused businesses are making.

"With £1.9m of support from Invest NI they are making a combined investment of over £22m in our economy.

"As well as stimulating economic growth there are also new job opportunities, with 282 new jobs being created, which will generate over £6.3m annually in additional salaries for the local economy."

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