Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Paisley stunned by major US investment

Stunned by investment: Ian Paisley
Stunned by investment: Ian Paisley

First Minister Ian Paisley said he was stunned into silence last night after a massive multi-million dollar investment from New York into Northern Ireland.

Four Big Apple pension funds have committed to investing $150m (£75m) into an investment fund that will funnel between $$75m and $$97m into investments in Northern Ireland.

Announcing the largest-ever US investment in Northern Ireland at a Press conference at his Manhattan offices, New York City Comptroller William Thompson said the new investment "follows the Pension Funds' longstanding, 20-year commitment to promoting peace and equality of opportunity for all in Northern Ireland".

The funds involved are the New York City Employees Retirement System, the Teacher Retirement System, the City Police Pension Fund, and the City Fire Department Fund.

Money will be invested via the venture capital firm Emerald Infrastructure Development LP, from its offices in Belfast and New York.

Sectors targeted will include projects in the alternative energy, waste management, property development and conventional energy sectors.

Other projects will involve public infrastructure, such as seaports and light rail. Real estate ventures, such as commercial, hospitality, and retail developments, will also be targeted.

Projects operating either exclusively in Northern Ireland or both parts of the island will receive upwards of 65% of the $150m total.

The remainder of the $150m will be invested in "green" Northern American-based companies that specialise in renewable and clean energy.

Possible links between these firms and any with ties to Northern Ireland companies will be forged "if they are a good deal," an Emerald spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph.

Mr Thompson said that specific companies had not yet been singled out for investment.

Joining Thompson in making the announcement were First Minster Ian Paisley and Deputy first Minster Martin McGuinness

Opening his remarks, Ian Paisley said: "I never thought I would live to see the day when I'm speechless. But I am, and so are the people of Northern Ireland.

"I want to just simply say to you sir, and to all who have helped in any way, from the depth of out hearts: Thank you."

In his remarks, Martin McGuinness stressed the importance of targeting the investments on both side of the border Tackling this socio-economic deprivation will be good for everyone, and vital for the rebuilding of our society as we move out of conflict.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph after his announcement, comptroller Thompson said that he hopes his city's investment is just the beginning of future investment for Northern Ireland.

"We think this is a good investment. We're only a piece of the larger fund.

"We think that larger fund holds great potential and we're going to encourage others to take a look at Emerald."

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