Selling port assets to pay peace dividend?

Gary McDonald, the business editor for the Irish News reports on a plan to hand over the 1,950-acre Harbour Estate which stretches from Holywood to the Belfast Lough’s northern foreshore to the Strategic Investment Board in order to pay for the deal being demanded by Northern Ireland’s political parties as the price for a return to Stormont. However, the Harbour Commissioners who currently oversee a substantial landbank are concerned that such a move could endanger a £140 million capital investment programme at the port. An ad hoc committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly recommended back in July 2001 to give the commissioners greater commercial flexibility, whilst the DRD retained a 40% public share.

The SIB was launched six months after the breakdown of the Assembly, as a means to getting value for money in Northern Ireland for the UK taxpayer.

  • Crataegus

    This is another example of asset stripping. If properly developed the Harbour estate is potentially worth billions,. Better to accrue long term income from that asset than short term gain. It is essential for the economic development of Belfast.

    If this is how the negotiations are going it is obvious the locals are not winning.

    With regards funding the deal the political parties are demanding I really do wish they would stop their stupid games and get on and do the job they were elected to do. What is wrong with a period of frugal management of this place? Let’s not incur any more liabilities, or sell off any more assets. Keep it simple and ask for one thing and one only get financial control back here!!!!!! Do that and I can think of a few banking inducements that would really get the money rolling in.

  • Brenda

    They will sell it off at a fraction of the price and some outside property developer will benefit like always and most likely loose the capital investment programme . They keep throwing money at politicians who don’t even have to show up for work in the morning.

    Crat, you have high opinions of local financial management and politicos. It’s a sure bet if ever they get institutions up and running, they’ll make a hash of it better than anybody accross the water.

    But what are we talking about. A local deal on power sharing. Nah. Ain’t gonna happen. I have looked into my crystal ball and see plan B.

  • Crataegus

    Brenda

    I have no regard for innumerate politicians, but unless we get control back here we will see all government property sold of and leased back, water privatisation etc. I hold our politicians in the lowest esteem imaginable, but I simply don’t trust the carpet beggars.

    Also if there was a fair degree of financial control here we could rig it to ensure we attract investment.

    Will never happen of course our lot will worry about their traditional marching routes, hanging out in the Dail, the status of Irish, who not to speak to this week, which criminal is flavour of the month, and most importantly if we are all Irish or British or both. Meanwhile those with some sense will have their eyes on the assets and we will be robbed blind.

  • “The SIB was launched six months after the breakdown of the Assembly, as a means to getting value for money in Northern Ireland for the UK taxpayer. “

    LOL that’s priceless – given these guys want to spend £100 million on a white elephant.

    Isn’t this basically the same thing that’s already happened at Titanic Quarter? Government sell off land at a mad discount and a property investor makes a mint. If so I’m shocked. The NIO are usually so good at learning from past mistakes. 😐

  • slug

    The biggest scandal that went unnoticed was the privatisation of Belfast International Airport. Do you remember what happened then? Talk about lack of value for the taxpayer, it was sold off in an incredibly incompetent way that made multi-millionaires of the buyers.

  • Crataegus

    If I could just add another point about developments and the political parties here. Some parties seem to be overly concerned about people’s right to develop, they are very pro developer. To ensure the public assets are being properly used and to protect against unfounded allegations against politicians you would need some safeguards in place regarding publicly owned land. There is much more of it than many imagine.