Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Heathrow expansion is ‘good news’ for Northern Ireland - Hamilton

Economy Minister Simon Hamilton MLA has welcomed the Government’s plans for a new runway at Heathrow.
Mr Hamilton said: “This is good news for Northern Ireland as Heathrow acts as a key route for access to London, mainland Europe and other important markets.  
Our connectivity to global business and inward tourism markets is dependent on the high frequency, economic and easy to use connections to international flights through a hub airport such as Heathrow.”
Notes to editors:
  1. For media enquiries contact DFE Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.
  2. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Executive will deliver for commerce and the North West

Greater collaboration, skills and innovation will ‎propel the economy to another level, deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness has said.

Speaking at a Derry Chamber of Commerce event, Martin McGuinness told guests he fully supports the work of the Chamber of Commerce and it is only right to celebrate the achievements of the business community in Derry and the North West.

He said the Executive is committed to strengthening the links between the public and private sector, between the Executive and our business community. 

The deputy First Minister said: "As an Executive we want to grow the economy and raise prosperity for all. 

"The tireless work of the Chamber and all the members are an important part of this programme of work. This Executive has demonstrated our commitment to the North West through our £7million support of the City of Derry Airport, the prioritisation of the £480million investment in the much needed A5 and A6 road schemes and also the ambitious project on the Old Waterside Station in Derry making it a new transport hub."

The deputy First Minister said the economy and availability of jobs would be a catalyst for change.

He said: "Our unemployment rate is now at its lowest level since 2008. We must not be complacent and although we have brought in more jobs than any time in our history, this Executive is committed to creating more and better jobs. As we move further into recovery, focus needs to shift to improving the productivity performance of the local economy by enhancing our skills, innovation and enterprise. 

"The availability of skills and the need to ensure a steady supply of labour into key growth sectors will be vital for the local economy which makes the development of the Magee Campus of Ulster University and continued engagement by the North West Regional College with business essential.

"I am determined to deliver and to move forward with the Chamber of Commerce and everyone who wants to make a positive contribution to create a strong economy and better future for all.”

Notes to editors:

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Friday, 14 October 2016

Foster and Ó Muilleoir sample the best of Northern Ireland at the BBC Good Food Show

First Minister, the Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster and Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir have attended the BBC Good Food Show in Belfast. 

The show is taking place at the Belfast Waterfront from 14-16 October as part of a three-year deal which will see it return again in 2017 and 2018.  

Welcoming the event to Northern Ireland for the first time, First Minister, Arlene Foster said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome the BBC Good Food Show to Belfast for the first time during Belfast Restaurant Week and Northern Ireland’s 2016 Year of Food and Drink.

“Over 10,000 visitors will visit the Waterfront over the next three days giving us another tremendous opportunity to showcase everything that is good about Northern Ireland. Our Michelin starred restaurants, award winning food tours and Gold Star Great Taste Award winning products, all strengthen Northern Ireland's reputation for excellence in food production.

“Good quality food and dining are a vital part of any tourism experience and the staging of BBC Good Food Show here in Belfast gives local producers a tremendous platform to show off Northern Ireland’s unique food and drink heritage to potential new buyers and tourists alike.

“I look forward to welcoming the show back to Northern Ireland in 2017 and 2018 and I have no doubt it will go from strength to strength.”

Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA said: “The newly extended Belfast Waterfront is the perfect location for the BBC Good Food Show. Today’s event is an excellent opportunity to showcase our award winning food and drink producers, placing the spotlight on talented local chefs and celebrated restaurants. For the past ten months we have been celebrating the different tastes and flavours from across the north and once again local companies have scooped awards at the Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste Awards and the Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards.”

Notes to editors:

1. Supported by Tourism NI, Invest NI and Food NI, the BBC Good Food Show is an integral part of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016.

2. The show will include demonstrations from celebrity chefs Paul Hollywood, John Torode and the Hairy Bikers coupled with tasting sessions with local chefs Paul Rankin, Danny Millar and Danni Barry. For further information please visit www.discovernorthernireland.com

3. Follow us on Twitter @niexecutive

Enniskillen BID to Boost Business

Communities Minister, Paul Givan MLA, has today welcomed news that businesses in Enniskillen have voted to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) in the town.


In an announcement made on Friday evening, businesses in Enniskillen have given the green light to the proposals and voted ‘YES’  to a BID that will give them a greater say in how their town is managed.


Welcoming the move, Minister Givan said: “Congratulations to all the businesses and stakeholders who have worked together with the local council to achieve this result which is very positive news.  By voting in favour of a BID, businesses will now help to deliver over £1.2m of additional investment, over the next five years, on projects led and managed by the business community within the Enniskillen BID area.  I congratulate everyone involved for their hard work in achieving this.”

Enniskillen BID is the last of six BID Pilots that have been receiving extensive capacity-building support and training through the NI BID Academy to vote yes to establishing a BID in their area.  The Academy, established and funded by the Department for Communities provided a structured training and support system for the BID Pilots to help them develop their proposals. 

Minister Givan added: “Through working with the Northern Ireland BIDs Academy, established and funded by my Department, Enniskillen BID and the other BID Pilots locations have received invaluable support from experienced practitioners who have overseen the establishment of successful BIDs in many other towns and cities in the UK.  I wish them all every success as they work to develop their areas.”



Notes to editors:


  1. Through participation in the Department for Communities Northern Ireland BIDs Academy, the Enniskillen BID has been working with local businesses and other organisations to develop ideas for moving forward. These ideas were presented in a BID proposal which was given the green light by BID participants in a ballot which closed on Thursday, 13th October.


  1. The pilot areas were: Ballymena, Belfast Cathedral Quarter, Belfast City Centre, Enniskillen, Newry, and Strabane.


  1. A BID is developed, managed and paid for by the non domestic sector by means of a compulsory BID levy which the businesses within the proposed BID area or sector must vote in favour of before the BID can be established.


  1. A BID is not a substitute for central or local government services but is a way additional funding can be raised. The businesses then decide how the additional funds are spent to strengthen their trading and market sector.


  1. Follow us on twitter @CommunitiesNI 


  1. For media enquires please contact the DfC Press Office on 028 9082 3909 or email press.office@communities-ni.gov.uk. For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

We must support world-class sectors to become a globally competitive economy - Hamilton

Economy Minister Simon Hamilton MLA has told the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce that a relentless focus on sectors of our economy that are already world class and those that could become world class is essential if Northern Ireland is to transform into a globally competitive economy.

Simon Hamilton drew a parallel with Team GB in the recent Rio Olympics and Paralympics where athletes and sports most likely to yield medal success were supported in terms of finance, training and technology.

Speaking at the Chamber event in Belfast the Minister said, "We are only at the beginning of the journey to become globally competitive.  It is a journey which won't be complete in a year.  It won't even be finished in five.  This is a decade long effort at least. 

“My Department is currently working hard at refreshing and renewing our Economic Strategy.  In essence it will be the road map that will, I hope, lead us to a time when Northern Ireland is once again punching above its weight on the international economic stage. It is my intention that the new Economic Strategy will be bold and ambitious and outline a vision of how our economy will look in 2030 and beyond. Having come through the downturn and made significant strides forward in re-balancing our economy, we now have the opportunity to push ahead and put in place a plan that will transform our economy for the better.

“It is a transformed economy that we must set our sights upon.  An economy where more of our companies have an international outlook and exporting goods, products and services outside of our region.  An economy where an increasing number of businesses realise their high growth potential and scale up from small to medium sized companies, employing more people in the process.  An economy where entrepreneurship and enterprise is endemic and reflected in a growing status as a start-up nation.  An economy where innovation is embedded in the DNA of every company.  An economy where government is business's biggest supporter, putting in place financial, infrastructural and policy support to ensure our economy thrives.  An economy where we build industries on the back of where we are genuinely world class in academic research.  An economy where our people possess the skills they need to improve their lives.  And – above all – an economy that works for everyone.”

The Minister concluded: "Being a globally competitive economy won't mean that Northern Ireland will become one of the biggest economies in the world.  But what it does mean is that we will have a well earned, totally justified, evidence based reputation as one of the world's most dynamic, innovative and high performing small advanced economies.

“I am immensely proud of the world beating performance of so many of our local businesses.  The fact that one in three London red buses are made by Wrightbus in Ballymena.  That one in ten of the cholesterol tests used in the world are made by Randox and that Moy Park produces 25% of Western Europe's chicken.  It is this sort of success I want us to build on in our new Economic Strategy.

“Only by concentrating our efforts on those sectors and sub sectors of the economy where we can truly shine on the international stage will we be able to breakthrough.  We need to ask ourselves what are we already world class at and what could we become world class at?  What are the areas of the economy where we have excellent research capability, large innovative companies, a superb SME supply chain and the requisite skills base?  Then we need to ruthlessly and relentlessly support those sectors towards even greater success.

“In many ways, what we need for our economy is to emulate the ethos of Team GB in the Olympics and Paralympics.  Team GB identified the sports and the athletes who were most likely to produce medal success.  They then invested heavily in the people, their training and the technology they used. 

 An economy our size can't succeed in every sector.  But we can be world class where we are already strong and where we are showing promise.  Like Team GB, we shouldn't be afraid to support those sectors that can make our economy globally competitive.

“This is not an easy task by any means.  There will be doubters.  And there will be challenges along the way.  But I am convinced that using all of our talents and supporting the sectors most likely to succeed, Northern Ireland can transform over time into a genuinely globally competitive economy.”

Notes to editors:

  1. For media enquiries contact DFE Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.
  2. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI


Economy Minister comments on Fujitsu restructuring.

Economy Minister Simon Hamilton MLA has commented on the restructuring of  the Fujitsu business throughout Europe including its operations in Belfast and Londonderry.

He said:  “This is a worrying time for staff at Fujitsu in Belfast and Londonderry. 

I have spoken to Fujitsu management today and intend to engage with senior decision makers in Japan in the days and weeks ahead to emphasise to them the highly skilled workforce that exists in Northern Ireland as well as the competitive costs and strong Government support that makes our region a good place for their company to continue to invest in."

Notes to editors:

  1. For media enquiries contact DFE Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.
  2. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI


Saturday, 8 October 2016

Foster and McGuinness on side for official opening of redeveloped Windsor Park

First Minister, the Rt Hon Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness tonight attended the opening of the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.

The Ministers were guests at an Irish Football Association (IFA) official opening and watched home team Northern Ireland take on San Marino in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match.

The IFA received £28.75 million from the Executive towards the stadium redevelopment which now has a seating capacity of 18,500.

Speaking ahead of the match First Minister, Arlene Foster said:  “It is a privilege to be here this evening to mark the official opening of our National Stadium at Windsor Park.

“The transformation has been remarkable and Northern Ireland, along with first class fans, now has a truly first class venue as its home of football.

“The Northern Ireland Executive’s contribution of £28.75 million has helped deliver this magnificent outcome and I congratulate everyone involved in the development of our new National Stadium.

“There is no doubt that this Summer’s Euro 2016 finals were transformative for Northern Ireland football and this wonderful new facility is reflective of our pride and ambition to take Northern Ireland to the next level.

“I have no doubt this magnificent new stadium will see many great sporting occasions in the years to come.”

The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “In France this summer Michael O’Neill and his team proved they were a class act both on and off the pitch and I’m delighted they now have a world class stadium to match.

“The Executive’s investment of nearly £30million will reap massive social, economic and cultural benefits. Tonight’s opening completes the second part of a three stadia Programme for Government commitment and I look forward to Casement Park coming to fruition during this Assembly term.

“Sport has the ability to break down barriers on and off the pitch and the IFA deserves great credit for its tireless efforts to rid sport of sectarianism, racism and homophobia.  Their work goes beyond the gates of Windsor Park and ripples out into wider society building friendships and the community. The financial support we have provided towards this stadium is an investment in a more inclusive, shared society.”

Also attending the official opening Sports Minister Paul Givan said: “This new state of the art Stadium marks a new and exciting beginning not only for the Northern Ireland Football team but for the whole community. This is a very special and proud day for all those who have worked tirelessly to turn the vision of a National Stadium into a reality.”

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Foster and McGuinness welcome Ireland's RWC 2023 bid through to next stage

First Minister, Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster MLA, and deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MLA have welcomed the announcement from World Rugby that Ireland’s Rugby World Cup 2023 bid is through to the final Candidate Phase of the Host Selection process.

World Rugby has confirmed France, Ireland and South Africa as Rugby World Cup 2023 host candidates.

First Minister, Arlene Foster said: “The Northern Ireland Executive is a strong supporter of the 2023 Rugby World Cup and it is excellent news we are now through to the next phase of the process. The potential to host the Rugby World Cup 2023 presents a fantastic opportunity to showcase our excellent rugby talent, magnificent facilities and legendary hospitality to rugby fans across the world. Northern Ireland has what it takes to host world class events and the Executive will continue to work hard to bring this great sporting event here in 2023.”

The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, said: “I congratulate all of those involved in helping  reach the next  phase in hosting RWC 2023. South Africa and France are formidable opponents, however, I believe the partnership between sport organisations, Government and local businesses can provide a winning combination in ensuring a successful event. I am certain everyone here will get behind the Ireland bid and look forward next year when the final decision on who will host RWC 2023 is made in November 2017.”

Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton MLA added: “It is tremendous news we are through to the Candidate Phase  of hosting The Rugby World Cup. The Rugby World Cup 2015 was the most commercially successful event to date and with large numbers of travelling fans and spectators the opportunity to host RWC 2023 would provide a major boost for local businesses, the tourism industry and the Northern Ireland economy as a whole.”

Notes to editors
1. Media enquiries to The Executive Office press office on 028 9037 8201. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press office via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

2. Follow us on Twitter @niexecutive

Saturday, 1 October 2016

McIlveen enjoys day in the North West

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michelle McIlveen has enjoyed a day in the North West.

The Minister started with a visit to the Northern Ireland International Ploughing Championships at Aghanloo near Limavady. There she met representatives of the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association (NIPA), as well as officials, competitors and businesses participating in the event.

Miss McIlveen congratulated everyone involved: “The Northern Ireland Ploughing Championships are now in their 73rd year and attract competitors of the highest calibre. It is quite a sight to see exponents of this difficult art at work and the crowd clearly enjoyed the high degree of skill on show.

"Of course, with so many people coming to enjoy the ploughing, the event also provides an excellent showcase for a wide range of rural and agricultural businesses, particularly those producing and dealing in farm machinery.

“I very much enjoyed the opportunity to tour the stands and meet farmers, traders, competitors and visitors at what is NIPA’s blue riband event.”

 From the ploughing championships, the Minister then travelled along the North Coast to the Giant’s Causeway for the 2016 Northern Ireland Potato Festival.

She said: “2016 is officially Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink and there is no doubt that our farmers and producers deliver high quality, unique, signature ingredients and products that represent the Province and which are some of the finest available anywhere.

 "The NI Potato Festival showcases one of our staple crops. With the help of The Mighty Spud and the excellent range of participating local producers, the festival underlines just how tasty and versatile the potato continues to be.

 "This is the fourth year of the event and what more fitting and spectacular setting than the Giant’s Causeway, one of Northern Ireland’s top tourist attractions, to showcase our award winning produce to the many local visitors and visitors from further afield.”

Miss McIlveen concluded: “The buzz at both of these events is fantastic and they are, along with the array of summertime agricultural shows and events, yet another example of the superb offering available in our rural areas across Northern Ireland.”

Notes to editors:

1.    The Northern Ireland International Ploughing Championships are organised by NIPA in conjunction with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. More information is available at http://www.niploughing.com

2.    More information on the Northern Ireland Potato Festival is available at https://www.facebook.com/nipotatofestival

3.    Follow us on Twitter @daera_ni http://twitter.com/daera_ni

4.    All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email DAERA Press Office: pressoffice.group@daera-ni.gov.uk. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.