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Bombardier job losses highlight need to focus on indigenous Enterprise - Sinn Féin

2 April, 2009

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (South Antrim) commenting on the loss of almost 1000 jobs at Bombardier said:   "This announcement is a devastating blow to the workers and their families and I extend Sinn Féin's solidarity to them. It is also a further blow to the economy coming in the aftermath of other similar announcements.   "While I recognise the need to attract inward investment we need to learn a lesson from these recent job losses at F.G. Wilson Engineering, Visteon car parts manufacturing and now at Bombardier. In economic situations such as we presently find ourselves in a global economic downturn multi-national companies will always look to their foreign operations first when taking cost saving measures. Our economy has been too dependent on direct foreign investment to the detriment of indigenous industry and enterprise.   "InvestNI while obviously seeking direct foreign investment should have had a special focus on assisting indigenous manufacturing to expand and seek foreign markets to build up our exports. We must not allow present conditions to inhibit our enthusiasm and determination to create opportunity out of adversity. We must concentrate on identifying sectors of potential expansion and invest in them now in order to secure the future.   “There is little or no obvious sources of immediate large scale foreign investment therefore InvestNI and other investment and job creation agencies should pool their resources in a collaborative effort to assist viable small and medium businesses struggling to retain employees and create an advisory body to go into companies where jobs are in jeopardy to trouble shoot and offer advice.   “These agencies should join with their southern counterparts to develop an export sales strategy. This strategy should be aimed at assisting indigenous companies to access export markets as well as advising local employers on setting up manufacturing businesses with the potential to compete with our largest imports. Currently over 75% of our exports are from foreign owned multinationals. Foreign owned firms also import the majority of the materials they use, thus  bypassing Irish suppliers.   “A focus should also be directed at research and development of sustainable energy sources through the all-Ireland Energy Strategy with the core aim of developing Ireland as a world leader in green and alternative energy technologies   .“Finally, third level and Further and Higher Education sectors need to have a joined up approach to ensure that we are training people for the areas that will provide the jobs of the future. ENDS

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