Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier row is risk to peace in Northern Ireland, claims Coveney

By Cate McCurry

Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney has claimed that the Bombardier dispute will put the Northern Ireland peace process at risk.

The Republic's minister raised concerns with the US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross over possible consequences of an interim US ruling that the Canadian aerospace company was receiving unfair state aid from the Quebec regional government.

A complaint from US rival Boeing against Bombardier resulted in a massive 220% tariff on its Belfast-made C Series planes being sold to the US.

This will more than triple the cost of C Series aircraft sold in the US and has put the jobs of thousands of staff at the east Belfast plant at risk.

Up to 1,000 Bombardier staff in Northern Ireland work on the wings and fuselage of the C Series passenger planes.

The Sunday Times reported that Mr Coveney said the Irish government was "very concerned" by the findings.

"However, it remains a preliminary finding, a step in a process which will continue for at least a number of months," he said.

He also told the US minister that any threat to jobs in Belfast could affect the peace process.

"The government is engaging as a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, given the risks that the investigation presents for the economy in Northern Ireland, which is a fundamental support to the peace process," he said.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK government will continue to work to protect the 4,000 employees here who face an uncertain future as a result of the trade dispute.

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