Paul Maskey welcomes First Minister on historic West Belfast visit
Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has welcomed First Minister Peter Robinson to an event organised by the business community in the West Belfast this morning.
Speaking today at the event Mr Maskey said:
“I would like to first of all thank Gerard Carlile for inviting me to chair today's breakfast meeting.
“I'd also like to thank him for taking the initiative and inviting the first minister Peter Robinson and the minister for enterprise, trade and investment Arlene Foster to the heart of west Belfast.
“I extend a 'Céad Míle Fáilte Romhaibh' to you Peter and Arlene and all at this morning's event on behalf of the people of west Belfast.
“Last year Gerry invited Martin McGuinness to a similar event here and that occasion, like today's, was very welcome and worthwhile.
“Your presence here sends a very important message to all the people of this area. It will be seen correctly, in my view, as an important gesture of recognition and acceptance of the importance of the people of this constituency to the Executive at its highest level and on two fronts: political and business.
“Today you are among a very creative and proactive group of people – the business community of West Belfast who provide the people of this area with much-needed employment and essential services and of course this area’s political representatives.
“But today's focus is about business; about inward investment, about job creation and job retention.
“And as MP for West Belfast – an area with high levels of unemployment and deprivation and for decades an area deliberately overlooked by successive governments – your presence here will help spotlight the excellent work that business people like Gerry Carlile and many others are doing every day of the week to provide employment opportunities for the people of West Belfast.
“Today is an opportunity to showcase the vibrancy and the enterprising spirit of the area's business community.
“It is also an opportunity for me to thank them for taking personal and financial risks through their investment in West Belfast.
“Your presence here reinforces the point that west Belfast is open for business. We are a forward-looking community with a young educated workforce ready to embrace the opportunities presented by inward investment from government agencies such as InVest NI.
“Our experience has instilled resilience in us all and this quality is particularly obvious among the risk-taking business community.
“So Peter and Arlene, I hope you enjoy your visit here and I also hope the message you get from those you speak with will make my job a bit easier when I knock on your door seeking further investment, support for entrepreneurs and skills development for a community bristling with talent and ideas.”