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China trip will not help keep our local jobs

Re the job losses at Liberty Insurance in Co Fermanagh and Patton's of Ballymena.

A government entourage from Northern Ireland, including the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Minister Arlene Foster and Minister Michelle O'Neill, went last week on a six-day trip to China.

While we all realise these visits to areas like China can be important, surely the Northern Ireland government can be represented by a much smaller group than this.

It appears over-lavish to have such a sizable group go on this trip when so many are suffering job losses and unemployment here.

Should Mrs Foster, who has the portfolio for enterprise, trade and investment, have left Northern Ireland at such a time of trouble?

The real work should be attempting to secure current jobs and providing whatever government assistance is available to those troubled companies. I'm positive that her presence here would have meant a lot more to the representatives and employees of Liberty and Patton's than it did to her contacts in the Far East.

In fact, if we can't support existing companies in their hour of need then why would new companies even consider coming here?

There are thousands of people facing financial uncertainty as local businesses struggle and are forced to let people go, enter administration or fold completely.

Edward Carson

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