Only one Invest NI visit to Mid Ulster

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Mid Ulster Council is to meet with Invest NI ‘as a matter of urgency’ after figures showed they only made one investor visit to the district over the last three years.

SDLP Torrent Councillor Malachy Quinn raised the matter at the monthly meeting of the council last Thursday.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: “Figures attained by the SDLP show that unlike Belfast that has had over 400 investor visits in the last three years, Mid Ulster has only had one.

“I find this unacceptable and quite frankly insulting. We are the centre for engineering not just in Ireland but across the whole world, as well a hub for start of businesses and other global brands. For Invest NI to set up only one investor meeting here is a complete disgrace and shows once again the Belfast centric mentality that they have. This is an organisation that it set up to serve everyone in the north but they seem to ignoring vast areas of it.”

He added: “I hope that this meeting is set up as soon as possible and we need to stress very strongly to Invest NI how this is not acceptable and that we expect them to change this situation right away.

“The people of Mid-Ulster deserve better.”

Invest NI said they have provided support to local firms and rejected suggestions they hold sway over where firms locate their business.

A spokesperson said: “Invest NI and the 11 local councils are actively working in partnership to help grow investment and the economy in every part of Northern Ireland. Over the past three years, Invest NI has offered support to 120 externally owned companies across Mid Ulster, bringing a total investment of over £19m to the area.

“External investments are only a small part of investment taking place within a region. We have also supported local companies of numerous sizes to grow, including in the manufacturing and engineering sector.

“These include the 210 jobs being created by Mallaghan Engineering, the 80 jobs being created by EDGE Innovate as part of a £8m business expansion in Dungannon, and the 29 jobs being created by Enisca Group in Cookstown.”

She stressed that steering an investor to locate in any one area that does not meet their requirements “would be both counterproductive, and damaging to Northern Ireland’s investment reputation”.