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Minister on promotion and fact finding tour in US

3 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Regional Development Minister, Conor Murphy MP, MLA, departs for the United States today where he is due to hold talks with senior government, members of Congress and potential US investors here.

The trip is designed to promote and build upon the major investment conference to be held in Belfast next year and to forge links with the United States with a focus on infrastructure and public transportation.

In a busy schedule, the Minister will be meeting a broad range of people and organisations with expertise in physical infrastructure and public transportation. The Minister is keen to learn about approaches in the planning, design and delivery of integrated high quality services in places such as New York and beyond.

Before departing Mr Murphy said:

"This trip presents a unique opportunity to promote and further engage the US government and potential investors on the benefits that exist here as we work to build an economy based on a just, stable and prosperous society across the North.

"I will be taking every opportunity to tell people, including senior business executives, about the major economic conference which is being staged back home and the enormous opportunities it offers now that we have stability and a power-sharing Executive.

"I believe it can be a great success and bring major investment from across the Atlantic with high quality jobs being created as a result. The visit will also give me an opportunity to tell of other positive developments which have taken place and to strengthen existing links between North America and Europe."

The Minister flies into New York where he will begin his tour with an address to over 250 top Irish-American business people at a luncheon event on Wall Street, organised by the Irish-Echo Newspaper. He will also meet senior representatives in Governor Eliot Spitzer's office and a top executive in the New York Stock Exchange and senior bankers. A meeting has also been arranged with Mr William Thompson Jnr, New York City Comptroller, who has the ability to influence investment by major companies.

The Minister will attend the annual gala dinner of the North Belfast based Flax Trust and a series of other events.

Mr Murphy will then travel on to Washington DC where he will meet with Dr Paula Dobriansky from the US State Department and Special Envoy to the North and will also pay a courtesy call to the Irish Ambassador to the US.

"The visit will also give my officials and me an opportunity to meet with those who are at the leading edge of infrastructure and transport development. I am confident that I can forge links and learn lessons which can be applied back home. Links of this kind are invaluable and we must do all we can to exploit them allowing us to build our infrastructure and therefore our economy across the island and become an attractive base for foreign direct investment and a place to do business." ENDS

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