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Home-based industry proves best for our province

Home-spun business might not be 'as sexy' as international investment, but in the longer term it's more likely to be sustainable than global names such as Seagate within Northern Ireland's economy.

As a DUP MLA, and an East Belfast councillor, who is also a member of the Assembly's Enterprise Trade and Investment Committee, I have firm views on this issue. I believe the heavily subsidised 900 jobs that are now to be lost in with the closure of Seagate's Limavady plant could have been translated as several thousand jobs that would remain permanently within Northern Ireland, given a different investment approach.

I think that international investment is very welcome, but has proved to be transient. Remember Delorean debacle?

Suppose the funding paid to Seagate to move here in the first place had been directed instead to helping maintain our once thriving indigenous textile and apparel industry? Would an employer who is part and parcel of the community from which the workforce springs have been as quick to take the business to the Far East for a 60 cents less per unit in production costs? I don't think so.

Minister Sir Reg Empey should consider these thoughts and look to making more of our own commercial and industrial expertise and maximise the kind of entrepreneurship at which hard-nosed local businessmen are best. After all, the very employment opportunities that are now being sought to replace the jobs lost by the unfortunate staff at Seagate will be almost entirely sought in the local marketplace - so why not give them the millions in the first place?

Robin Newton, MLA, Belfast

Belfast Telegraph


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