Apology call over MP Naomi Long's Bombardier EU claims
The Enterprise Minister has attacked Alliance MP Naomi Long over her claims that aircraft manufacturer Bombardier would leave Northern Ireland if the UK leaves the European Union.
The DUP's Arlene Foster said Mrs Long should apologise to Bombardier for her comments.
Ms Foster told the Assembly that Bombardier - the biggest employer in east Belfast - was "very concerned" about Ms Long's comments. Ms Long had told an hustings event on Monday night: "If we exit the EU, Bombardier will exit east Belfast."
The DUP is in favour of a renegotiation of European membership, followed by a referendum over whether to leave.
Yesterday, the Canadian-owned aerospace giant said: "Bombardier remains committed to its operations in Northern Ireland." It added that it "will not speculate at this stage on the future of the UK's participation in the EU".
The company emphasised its massive investment in Northern Ireland, including £520m in the production of the CSeries aircraft wings. Mrs Foster told MLAs that she hoped Ms Long "apologises to Bombardier for the embarrassment that she has caused"
"I have been in contact with Bombardier, and it is very concerned about the comments that have been made," she said.
"Bombardier is completely committed to Northern Ireland because of the workforce that there is here, and to suggest that it would act otherwise following a referendum when the company has made it clear that it does not have a particular stance on the UK referendum, if, indeed, it happens after the general election, is irresponsible," she claimed.