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Belfast the clear winner in race for foreign investors

By John Mulgrew

Some areas of Northern Ireland have hosted as few as four visits from potential foreign investors in the last five years. New figures outline a full breakdown of foreign direct investment (FDI) visits accommodated by Invest NI since 2011.

Mid Ulster had only four visits, West Tyrone eight, and our second city, Londonderry, just 15.

Meanwhile, Belfast welcomed 827 companies and visitors over the period.

The figures were released in an Assembly answer to SDLP MLA Justin McNulty from Economy Minister Simon Hamilton.

A spokeswoman for Invest NI said: "As Invest NI has clarified repeatedly, visits are scheduled to meet the needs of an investor, who chooses the different locations to visit based on a range of criteria and best fit with its business needs.

"Invest NI promotes Northern Ireland as an investment location, competing with countries and regions around the world. We work closely with local councils in the development of their economic development plans, and in identifying their unique selling points that will help attract investment."

Last month the Belfast Telegraph revealed that, in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, just 9.25% of jobs promised for the region will pay workers the Northern Ireland average wage.

That is just 90 out of 972 positions.

The biggest single jobs announcement in the area during the year was the 800 Teleperformance posts. However, the majority of those have still not come on stream.

Mr Hamilton said: "Before Teleperformance can begin creating these new jobs, major communications infrastructure works are required, including the construction of a new communications room, which I understand was completed in June 2016."

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