Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Flawed Invest NI needs Assembly shake-up

The following press release makes for interesting reading: 'A leading US financial services company is to more than double its workforce at its mid-west operation in Ireland.

'Fund administrator Northern Trust is to take on another 400 employees at its Limerick base. The Limerick office, which already has 300 workers, is regarded as a fund administration centre of excellence.' It begs the question: where was Invest NI when these and other high-quality jobs were mooted?

I am employed by a London-based global investment group and we have employees in most UK and Irish locations, including Cork, Dublin and Wexford.

In early-2011, the First and Deputy First Ministers met with senior representatives of my organisation in the US and permission was sought and received for Invest NI to approach the relevant decision-makers in the UK.

Invest NI failed to convince the decision-makers that there was a viable incentive to locate jobs in the north of Ireland. Instead, there is a continual round of devastating redundancies in the province.

No doubt Invest NI will roll out the same, sorry excuses about being unable to attract serious employers to the province.

It is about time that the Assembly looked long and hard at the flaws and weaknesses within Invest NI and comes up with an organisation which can compete with the likes of Dublin, Edinburgh and Manchester.

SEAN SHERIDAN

London EC4

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