Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Agri-food shines through Ulster's economic gloom

Ulster Bank lunch at the 2013 Balmoral Show - Lorna Robinson and Karen Loughran. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Ulster Bank lunch at the 2013 Balmoral Show - Lorna Robinson and Karen Loughran. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has pledged her support for the continued growth of the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland during a visit to the 2013 Balmoral Show on Thursday. The Minister spent the day touring the Showgrounds and meeting representatives from the food processing industry along with the wider agri-food community. Pictured with Arlene Foster during a visit to the Dale Farm exhibition, was David Dobbin, Chief Executive.
Second day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. The Botannica Amateur Championship. Martin Wilson on Hermes Diamond. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
Second day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. The Botannica Amateur Championship. Martin Wilson on Hermes Diamond Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
The Botannica Amateur Championship. Margaret Fullerton on Vinday Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
Ulster Bank lunch at the Balmoral Show. Pictured left to right are: Richard Ennis, Dabid Thomas, Ellvena Graham and Nigel Dunlop. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Botannica Amateur Championship. Margaret Fullerton on Vinday. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
Ulster Bank lunch at the Balmoral Show. Pictured left to right are: Ian Jordan, Declan Billington and Paul Johnston. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Botannica Amateur Championship. Zoe Farren on Tahoma Cruise. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
Ulster Bank lunch at the Balmoral Show. Pictured left to right are: Colum Caughey and Nigel Walsh. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Botannica Amateur Championship. Zoe Farren on Tahoma Cruise. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
Ulster Bank lunch at the Balmoral Show. Pictured left to right are: Ken Murnaghan, Denis Lynn and Nicky Banjeri. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Botannica Amateur Championship. Zoe Farren on Tahoma Cruise. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
The Botannica Amateur Championship. Colleen Glasgow on Euro DoublAct. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
15.05.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD The first day of the Balmoral Show in the new grounds of the old Maize Prison kicked off yesterday. Deirdre McDonald from Sligo tending to her horse Nisqually De May
Presseye Northern Ireland - 15th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-William Cherry/Presseye Artist Michelle Stephens unveils a 2.5 metre high sculpture that is residing pride-of-place on one of the main thoroughfares in the Balmoral Show??s new home. It was inspired by Cookstown 10-year-old Cormac Peter Wardle who won a competition organised by show principal sponsor, Ulster Bank, to design a permanent feature themed on the agricultural industry and reflecting the show??s exciting move this year to its new site. Michelle interpreted the winning design into the sculpture.
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 15th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Presseye Balmoral Show Balmoral Park 2013 Traffic congestion on the Halftown Road Lisburn.
NO FEE Presseye.com15th May 2013 First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
NO FEE Presseye.com15th May 2013 First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Pictured are 3 generations who have made the journey Gerri Stephens,Eilleen Stephens and Sara Stephens-Drea Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
NO FEE Presseye.com15th May 2013 First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Pictured are Charlie Shields and Oisin Rafferty with Ulster Banks mascot Henri. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
NO FEE Presseye.com15th May 2013 First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Pictured are Eric Smyth on Tully brook cruse Hill Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
NO FEE Presseye.com15th May 2013 First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Jessica Burke Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
15.05.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD The first day of the Balmoral Show in the new grounds of the old Maize Prison kicked off yesterday. Rebecca Monaghan from Co. Clare with her horse Cougar Suprise waiting to go into the show
15.05.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD The first day of the Balmoral Show in the new grounds of the old Maize Prison kicked off yesterday. General View
15.05.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD The first day of the Balmoral Show in the new grounds of the old Maize Prison kicked off yesterday. Aimee Davis aged 13 tending to her Baby Calf, Aoibhe
15.05.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD The first day of the Balmoral Show in the new grounds of the old Maize Prison kicked off yesterday. A man competing with his cow in the Cow Showring
15.05.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD The first day of the Balmoral Show in the new grounds of the old Maize Prison kicked off yesterday. A woman showing off her cow in the Cow Showring
15.05.13. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALD The first day of the Balmoral Show in the new grounds of the old Maize Prison kicked off yesterday. People petting the Goats in the Goat ring
Pacemaker Press 15/5/2013 Ashley Brown from Saintfield with her Donkey on The First day of the Balmoral show 2013 , That takes place at the Old Maze Prison site near Lisburn for the first time Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 15/5/2013 Francis Dunne a horse on The First day of the Balmoral show 2013 , That takes place at the Old Maze Prison site near Lisburn for the first time Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. First Minister Peter Robinson meets Eve McClurg and Zoe Ball and their horse 'Roz' at the beginning of the show. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Pacemaker Press 15/5/2013 The First day of the Balmoral show 2013 , That takes place at the Old Maze Prison site near Lisburn for the first time Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 15/5/2013 The First day of the Balmoral show 2013 , That takes place at the Old Maze Prison site near Lisburn for the first time Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. First Minister Peter Robinson meets Eve McClurg and Zoe Ball and their horse 'Roz' at the beginning of the show. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. First Minister Peter Robinson meets TV chef Jenny Bristow at the beginning of the show. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. First Minister Peter Robinson and Junior Minister Jonathan Bell meets children from Newtownards Model Primary School at the beginning of the show. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. First Minister Peter Robinson serves food to members of the public at the Ulster Pork and Bacon Forum at the beginning of the show. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Farmers prepare their sheep for show on the first day of the Balmoral show at its new site, the former Maze prison outside Lisburn in Co Antrim
NO FEE Presseye.com15th May 2013 First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
NO FEE Presseye.com15th May 2013 First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Alan Irwin from Fintona with his prized Chardiner Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
NO FEE Presseye.com15th May 2013 Ulsters Stephen Ferris pictured at the First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. First Minister Peter Robinson and Jeffrey Donaldson meets Ray Burrows from the Ulster Aviation Society at the beginning of the show. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. First Minister Peter Robinson serves food to members of the public at the Ulster Pork and Bacon Forum at the beginning of the show. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Earl of Wessex at Balmoral Show Day 1 at the new Balmoral Park site on the former Maze prison site. HRH Prince Edward is pictured during a tour of the showgrounds. Photo by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Shane McFadden competes in the show jumping. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
NO FEE Presseye.com15th May 2013 First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Pictured is Shane Smullin from Carlo Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
NO FEE Presseye.com15th May 2013 First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Pictured Dennis Hefernon from Galway Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Pictured are Kenneth and Todd Martin. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
NO FEE Presseye.com15th May 2013 First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Alan Irwin from Fintona with his prized Chardiner Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
NO FEE Presseye.com15th May 2013 First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Pictured are David Ingle ride judge on Bloomfield Millpond owned Daphne Tierney Photograph by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Greg Fruchtenicht from Ruffle Clothing prepares his stall. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Shirley Irwon and Irene Brown. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Performers at the entrance to the Balmoral Show. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Greg Fruchtenicht from Ruffle Clothing prepares his stall. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Performers at the entrance to the Balmoral Show. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2012 - First day of the 2013 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at the new site, Balmoral Park. Performers at the entrance to the Balmoral Show. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Northern Ireland's economy will not return to growth until next year or beyond, a survey of accountants said.

The region is still firmly in recession and becoming "disengaged" from any recovery in Great Britain, the report said.

Major issues affecting businesses confidence were lack of political stability, shortage of demand and difficulties in accessing finance, the Chartered Accountants Ulster Society added, warning uncertainty was holding back spending by consumers and investment by businesses.

Society chairman Darren McDowell said: "This survey shows that Northern Ireland's economic recovery has still some considerable way to go.

"Our members feel it may be 2014 or beyond before we see some positive growth.

"While there may be somewhat positive signs on IT, agriculture and for exporters, it looks as though the year ahead will continue to be challenging for local business."

Key findings of a survey of almost 400 accountants included:

• 56% viewed the prospects for Northern Ireland business in the year ahead as poor, with only 6% optimistic.

• 91% felt Northern Ireland was performing worse than the rest of the UK.

• 63% supported the creation of a single Department of the Economy.

• Half advocated an Invest NI dedicated small business unit and a quarter sought separate agencies for large and small firms.

Members recommended measures to stimulate the economy including increased capital spending, rates freezes for business and export initiatives.

Mr McDowell added: "A key concern is that our members feel that the Northern Ireland economy is still firmly in recession and that we are becoming disengaged from any recovery which may be taking place in the UK as a whole.

"There are significant levels of uncertainty about our economic future and this uncertainty is holding back spending by consumers and investment by businesses in Northern Ireland."

He said accountants wanted to see greater stability in the Stormont administration.

"The flag protest has demonstrated how thin the stability can be and how quickly things can go out of kilter," he added.

"Strong, functioning political stability is what businesses need."

This is the first time lack of political leadership came back as something holding the economy back from recovery. The survey was carried out in February following loyalist flags protests.

According to the accountants' survey, 85% of members believed firms were putting investment or expansion plans on hold because they could not access finance.

Most chartered accountants felt bank loans and overdrafts have become more difficult to obtain in the past year. Trade credit was also viewed as less available.

Finance was a particular issue for small firms, the construction and services sector. It was less of a problem for manufacturers but more so for exporters.

The construction outlook was considered poor over the next year by 84% of members.

91%

Said we are performing worse than the UK

63%

Said they wanted new Department of Economy

85%

Said firms were putting investment on hold

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