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Robinson says Ulster is 'open for business'

Northern Ireland is moving on and is open for business, according to First Minister Peter Robinson.

Addressing an audience of business leaders in east Belfast, Mr Robinson said that in previous years Northern Ireland was a by-word for instability, violence and danger.

"Our country took its place in the sad list of world trouble spots. The ease with which people would simply say: 'Israel, Lebanon and Northern Ireland' in conversation showed how the rest of the world viewed us: a dangerous place where no sane person would invest or try to start a business," he said. "Businesses and investors avoided Northern Ireland because of our international reputation.

"Many fine businesses that had existed for generations were destroyed: their buildings bombed, or worse, their leading figures murdered.

"In more recent times, the constant collapse and political instability of earlier periods of devolution also put people off investing in Northern Ireland.

"People looking at Northern Ireland now can see a society, which despite its harsh political contentions and sometimes fierce debates, is stable and secure inside the United Kingdom.

"Having made government secure and more stable, it is essential that we do not allow our community to be dragged backwards in to instability.

"Nothing would put investors off more than to see Ulster sliding backwards in to the dark days," he added.