Good news? For some..

Not that Secretary of State, Peter Hain, would be keen to distract our attention.. nor Invest NI for that matter.. ANYway, yesterday Hain officially opened the newly built (using PPP funding) Invest NI headquarters and today he appeared in Derry to announce 300 new jobs for Seagate – part of an investment of £83million.. of which £24.82million is supplied through Invest NI.. For good measure Hain also threw in the announcement of an upgrade to the A6 Derry to Dungiven road, and, seemingly, plucked a figure of £250million for that one from somewhere.. no clear indication of how that will be funded, yet.. but, as previously noted, the Investment Strategy for NI, that it will be a part of, will be heavily reliant on Public Private Partnerships.From the Notes to Editors in the NIO statement on the Seagate jobs announcement

Invest NI has offered £16.394m towards total eligible project costs of £62.349m of the Springtown project and £8.421m towards total eligible project costs of £20.826m of the Limavady project as part of its North West Action plan which has been designed specifically to help develop the economic strength of the region.

It’s also worth noting that while the announcement of the upgrade to the A6 was made as the Ilex board launched the Regeneration Plan for Derry.. it’s a Regeneration Plan that officially remains out for consultation until 3 February 2006.

Meanwhile, in Dublin, Irish Minister Michael Martin announced 600 new jobs with Google, supported by IDA Ireland, who don’t actually mention any associated costs.

  • Crataegus

    What Hain should first ask is why would anyone invest here? What advantage do we have, and what are the disadvantages. Having identified the disadvantages start to address them so we can compete.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    This is good news for the North-West, but it’s a transparent attempt to divert our attention away from the “Stormontgate” affair. Both the communities- Unionist/Loyalist and Nationalist/Republican want a clear, concise and spin-free explanation of why these men were acquitted of all charges and absolved of all blame. Call me sceptical but me thinks a deal was done…

  • Crataegus

    Concerned Loyalist,

    Of course something about this stinks. The question is was it a deal with SF or to sweep some PSNI scheme under the carpet. Either way the Secretary of State has some explaining to do. But he won’t because in the final analysis he doesn’t have to.

    At the minute Unionists have to ask who is likely to act in the best interests of the people of NI the Labour government or SF. Not a pleasant choice.

  • ‘What advantage do we have?’

    Why our solid too goodness people, sure doesn’t everyone love us, we are so warm and friendly blah blah blah.

    You kind of get the feeling that the Invest NI strategy is to just go – ah please invest, ah go on, you know you want to, please?

    Does anyone remember the article about Invest NI only creating 50 jobs in one year? I am trying to dig it out. From what i remember it was in the irish news about 6 months ago.

  • Nestor Makhno

    The two announcements reveal something of a contrast.

    The Seagate news, at first glance, appears to be exacly the sort of thing Northern Ireland needs: supporting hi tech, knowledge based industry.

    But I wonder if this is true? The target is moving and yesterday’s hi tech looks distinctly old hat very quickly.

    I could be wrong but is Seagate locally not just a manufacturing operation? If so then the bulk of its local costs are likely to be (I suspect) employee salaries. Given a few years the logic of Seagate moving the whole shebang to India or Vietnam will undoubtably become overwhelming even with government subvention.

    Then on the other hand you have this investment by Google – not a manufacturing company but a pure knowledge based enterprise (with plans to take over the world)- in the south. I suspect this is likely to be the more sustainable way to go. Build the expertise locally and it’s hard to replicate it elsewhere quickly.

    I’m starting to think that this celtic tiger thing might not be a flash in the plan after all…

  • foreign correspondent

    Does no-one else realize what the earth-shattering aspect of this post is?
    There is finally a plan to build a half-decent road out of the second-biggest city in the North, and the fourth-biggest on the island. Ok it´s scheduled for the distant future when all Ireland might have already sunk under the waves, but at least there is recognition that the city is likely to get motorway standard roads slightly before Ballinamard or Cahirciveen do.
    Happy days, hi

  • foreign correspondent

    or even Ballinamallard! 🙂

  • Yer Woman

    Ahhh! Derry!! Remember that fair Maiden of a town? Too many cafflicks in Derry, hence the under-investment, see!

    And don’t get me started on poor oul Strabane!

    What’s wrong with “Investing in the West” people?

    We’ve got Hume, Heaney, Coulter, Coyle(Nadine) and most importantly, Dana and Brendan Shine- what’s not to love???

    I applaud the new dual carraige way though, but a rail network that doesn’t zig-zag across the north before reaching Stroke City would be even nicer. Just think – Derry-Belfast in 30mins!

    *wipes tear from swonkeye* It’s possible!!!

  • Crataegus

    Yer Woman

    Agree with you regarding the rail link. Also we need to think more about the West of Ireland generally and perhaps a transport corridor from Derry through Galway and Limerick to Cork. Imagine Derry to Cork in 3-4 hours. Ireland is becoming over developed in the East and the West is simply neglected. In a United Ireland the North may end up with the same status as the West.

  • IJP

    A few things here:

    1. Since when did a road upgrade become ‘a sop to Nationalists’ (as claimed by DUP Cllrs in Limavady)?

    2. I object strongly to a 19% rates hike then being used by government as a blatant political ‘We’re nice guys really’ sop.

    3. Most importantly, Pete is spot on. Where on earth does this figure of £250 million come from? I would estimate a complete new-build motorway from Derry all the way to Castledawson would cost less than that.

    More importantly still, why on earth is this not being tolled? Tolled motorways, as in the Republic, effectively pay for themselves. Say what you like about the toll companies, you’d rather have the motorways than not have them. And we’d still have £250 million free to spend on, well, reducing those rates hikes…