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'Dodds stance will inhibit Economic growth' - McLaughlin

16 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (South Antrim) has accused Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Nigel Dodds of allowing his politics to blur his vision on an all-Ireland economy.

Mitchel McLaughlin said:

"In a written response to a question that I put to Nigel Dodds at the Assembly concerning merging Invest NI and the Industrial Development Agency in the South the Minister replied that 'I am clear that the competitive nature of procuring Foreign Direct Investment and significant differences in our product offering, make a single operation, straddling two jurisdictions, impossible'.

"I believe that Nigel Dodds approach to the evolving all-Ireland economy will inhibit economic growth in the North. Since the emergence of the peace process and the creation of a new political dispensation a number of eminent economists and leaders of the business community such as Sir George Quigley , Chairperson of Shortts Plc and Alan Gillespie, Chair of the Ulster Bank Group have endorsed the all-island economy as the way forward.

"Sir George has long been an advocate of an integrated economy and just last week Alan Gillespie called for the merging of the two job creation agencies on the island, Invest NI and the IDA, to 'promote an all island economy through a single, joined-up, effective agency; with the IDA and Invest NI no longer competitors, but fully collaborative.'

"Nigel Dodds assessment of the way forward flies in the face of the opinions of economic experts from across the political divide and would seem to be highly influenced by partisan political considerations rather than factual pragmatic evidence to the contrary.

"I believe that if the Minister persists with this approach that he will inhibit economic growth in the North and fall further behind the economy on the rest of the island." ENDS

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