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Sinn Féin welcome new all-Ireland - US R&D accord

18 January, 2005

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on all-Ireland development, West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff has welcomed the announcement of details of an accord between major US and Irish research institutes north and south.

Mr McElduff said:

"Across the island it is vital that we develop deeper links and greater co-operation, particularly economic links and between learning and research centres.

"The signing of this accord on all-Ireland - US research and development links is also important given the precarious nature and unsustainability of the northern economy in the medium to long term and given the worrying trends that are emerging showing a downturn in 6 county R&D expenditure.

"While there has been greater investment by the universities and greater numbers of people employed in R&D in the north there is no escaping the consequences of an overall 6.6% decrease in R&D expenditure.

"The fact that there is a fall of £40 million in R&D within the business sector, particularly within manufacturing should send out a very serious warning to government that there is a sustained drift away from investment in these key areas in R&D. There needs to be a coherent strategic focus on how business is supported and encouraged to invest more in R&D.

"The future economic success of the economy demands that there is greater government led action to ensure that innovation can be developed and fully realised, particularly within indigenous businesses and within the manufacturing sector." ENDS

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