“our novelty value isn’t going to last for ever..”

UTV’s Ken Reid can’t have been too surprised at the insistence of Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Ian Paisley, that he intends to serve a full 4-year term – it’s the same declaration he got in April. As for not being “some miserable sod sitting up here in Stormont planning some way to bring disaster to the country”.. well, he would say that wouldn’t he? [It will not be an overnight transition, after all.. – Ed] Of more interest, however, is the apparent lack of confidence in the First Minister’s continued good health and mobility from the Stormont source quoted in this Irish Times report [subs req] – on the short tour of the US in December, by the Two Monsters First and deputy First Ministers, when they’re expected to meet with President Bush.

“We have to take advantage of what we have achieved because our novelty value isn’t going to last for ever, and it’s also fair to say that Ian Paisley won’t be in a position to keep flying around the world,” a Stormont source added.

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  • New Yorker

    From the IT article – “persuade US businesspeople that “Northern Ireland is a good place in which to invest”.

    Investment prefers places that have a good record of adherence and enforcement of the law. Over the years up to the present the headlines of murders, robberies, etc., have made NI a dicey place to invest. In that part of the world, the Republic is stable, has good law enforcement, less than half the corporate tax: Where would you put your money?

  • jone

    Can I point you to the great Simpson’s episode ‘Homer at Bat’; Chief Wiggum’s boys have pulled over one of Mr Burn’s ringers, the Yankee Steve Sax:

    Officer Eddie: (reading Steve Sax’s license) Well well, Steve Sax, from New York City.

    Officer Lou: I heard some guy got killed in New York City and they never solved the case. But you wouldn’t know anything about that now, would you, Steve?
    (Lou and Eddie laugh)

    Steve Sax: But there are hundreds of unsolved murders in New York City.

    Officer Lou: You don’t know when to keep your mouth shut, do you, Saxxy Boy?

  • snakebrain

    A major problem lies with non-enforcement of the law with relation to protection rackets. In many areas of NI it’s only possible to do business if you’re prepared to pay the local godfathers an indecent share of your profits.

    Nothing will stifle new business faster.

    I looked at taking on an existing food retail business in Ballymena, and was told up front by the previous owner-manager that there would “of course” be payments to be made on a weekly or monthly basis.

    I said I would “of course” be looking elsewhere.

  • The Raven

    The New Yorker wrote: “Where would you put your money?”

    Well. Let’s see. I think I posted this already, so apologies for the repeat if I did. Here’s a snippet of financial news on the day that Seagate closed their plant in Limavady, kicking the shit out of 930 primary lives, and myriad more secondary ones as the ripple spread:

    “For its last fiscal quarter, which ended Sept. 28, Seagate’s earnings grew to US$355 million, or 64 cents per share, more than 18 times the year-ago period’s earnings of $19 million, or three cents per share. For the current quarter, Seagate forecast a profit of 57 cents to 61 cents per share on revenue of $3.15 billion to $3.25 billion. Shares of Seagate rose 43 cents to $27.38 in midday trading. The company is based in the Cayman Islands but operates out of Scotts Valley, near Santa Cruz.”

    In answer to your question? Malaysia. Seems £15m can be knocked off operating costs if they ship out there.

    But hey, we decided not to cover that closure on Slugger. Must be cos it wasn’t Greater Belfast or Derry. Go figure.

  • joeCanuck

    I wonder where will Dodds and this pair will go next. China is investing huge amounts overseas so maybe that would be a good place to tap.
    Oh, wait a minute. I completely forgot about the upcoming attempt to cow some of Belfast’s chinese community.
    Wonder if they know about that in Beijing.
    Just a rambling thought.

  • McGrath

    From the IT article – “persuade US businesspeople that “Northern Ireland is a good place in which to invest”.

    We send the godfather of Parading/Demonstrating/National Striking/Religious Fundamentalism and the Godfather of Terrorism on an investment trip. Even if the numbers made sense, the weirdness would still scare the crap out of any investor.

    Northern Ireland, as it sits right now, doesnt stand a chance compared to other investment alternatives.

    Its best bet is home grown entrepreneurial export focused enterprise.

  • DK

    Both McGrath and New Yorker are wrong for the rather obvious reason that an area that has come out of a conflict is a good place to invest because there are opportunities there that no-one else has taken because of the conflict.

    This is why Northern Ireland has been booming recently – there are new opportunities that weren’t there previously. And that is what the chuckle brothers are telling people.

  • Nevin

    Pete, the US might be a good place for the CBies to be in December as further revelations about sleaze drip out.

    Snakebrain, your Ballymena example fits my scenario of the culture of unlawfulness that is ‘endorsed’ by the British and Irish political establishments, including President McAleese. Somehow I can’t imagine Margaret Ritchie inviting the Brigadier for a round of golf at Royal County Down!!

    ‘Payments’ in Ballymena are bad and a promise to be ‘burnt out’ in Ballycastle is worse; Americans, including New Yorkers – and Dubliners – will recognise this as mafiaism. This paramilitary cancer has deep roots and, if you look a little closer, you’ll find solicitors, accountants, bankers, politicians and, maybe, developers in close proximity. Forgive me for being a little coy, Snakebrain, but I’m sure you’ll understand why anyone would be reluctant to go into detail.

  • New Yorker

    DK,

    You state “Both McGrath and New Yorker are wrong for the rather obvious reason that an area that has come out of a conflict”. You believe the area “has come out of conflict” but that’s not true yet. Hopefully that will be the case but at present the prudent investor would be wise to wait and see how your problems get resolved.

  • DK

    New Yorker: “at present the prudent investor would be wise to wait and see how your problems get resolved”

    Well s/he will miss the boat. You just need to look out of the window to see how Northern Ireland is doing well… except that you are in New York. Fancy a visit? Exchange rate is very good right now.

  • Won’t last forever? Maybe his stunts and actions work on the international scale, but didn’t his novelty in NI wear of like… 30 years ago?

  • McGrath

    Both McGrath and New Yorker are wrong for the rather obvious reason that an area that has come out of a conflict is a good place to invest because there are opportunities there that no-one else has taken because of the conflict.

    This is why Northern Ireland has been booming recently – there are new opportunities that weren’t there previously. And that is what the chuckle brothers are telling people.

    Posted by DK on Nov 07, 2007 @ 08:36 AM

    While Northern Ireland may be getting better, it has to compete with other investment opportunities, the most obvious being the Republic of Ireland. Both English speaking countries with a skilled and educated workforce, but the ROI has a more favourable tax climate and comes without the baggage.

    And what I mean by baggage is terrorism and the residual gangsterism. A well informed investor will be able to see that the NI baggage isn’t really a big factor any longer and will be less of a factor as time goes on. However, sending a religious – sectarian nut job and a fanatical terrorist on a trade mission doesn’t exactly play down the baggage aspect. I hope the two of them are smart enough not to mention that the PNSI don’t investigate gangsterism and sectarian related crimes in NI for fear of raising sectarian tensions!

  • New Yorker

    DK,

    I was there a few months ago. I’m quite well informed about events in NI and the ROI. The exchange rate of dollars for pounds is not favorable to Americans.

  • McGrath

    New Yorker:

    In am fortunate / afflected enough to maintain an office in both the USA and NI (Engineering work). I can assure you the ball bounces differently in NI. Luckily / unfortunately for me, I grew up here. It is a source of unending intrigue.

  • Nevin

    “PNSI don’t investigate gangsterism and sectarian related crimes in NI for fear of raising sectarian tensions!”

    A bit ambiguous, McGrath. Choose not or can only do so with political clearance?

  • McGrath

    Posted by Nevin on Nov 08, 2007 @ 05:57 AM

    Who would really know why?

  • Nevin

    I think it’s an important distinction to make, McGrath, otherwise the Police Ombudsman and Joe and Josey Public will draw false conclusions about culpability.

    I think the Policing Board ought to inform the public about the total nature of decision making on policing issues.

  • McGrath

    I think the Policing Board ought to inform the public about the total nature of decision making on policing issues.

    Posted by Nevin on Nov 08, 2007 @ 05:33 PM

    Is the policing board the ultimate policy maker? What about the influence of the British Government / MI5? What about the real fear of inflaming sectarianism? What about the PNSI protecting itself?

    In relation to gangsterism, throughout the world rackets and drug dealing are supported by political and law enforcement corruption, it would not be any different here.

    Regarding blame, it cant the same in every circumstance, otherwise it would be easy to fix.

  • Nevin

    McGrath, this what the PB says about itself:

    “The Policing Board is an independent public body made up of 19 Political and Independent Members established to secure for all the people of Northern Ireland an effective, efficient, accountable and impartial police service which has the confidence of the whole community.”

    I’ve drawn attention to one part of the policing process that’s not accountable viz the part involving the BIIC Joint Secretariat. There may well be other parts.

    If the PB doesn’t educate the public, who will?

  • New Yorker

    Nevin

    How do you propose the gangsterism in NI be dealt with?

    It looks like the ROI is taking action on the Quinn murder with the arrest of the local godfather. NI just mapped the entire province with the Tellus project. Could that not be used to pinpoint the fuel laundering plants and close them down?

    McGrath

    I do not agree with the ‘it happens elsewhere’ argument. The people behind the Northern Bank robbery are still running around. The DUP wants to protect funds for the UDA. SF protects the McCartney, Quinn and scores of other murderers. That’s a banana republic not a well functioning state with a little municipal corruption. Only an unwise person would invest in such an environment.

  • McGrath

    Posted by New Yorker on Nov 09, 2007 @ 05:36 AM

    Wise investors are such because they consider only the facts and make accurate interpretations, wouldn’t you agree?

    Slab Murphy has been arrested for tax evasion, his arrest is in no way connected to the Quinn murder.

    I didn’t argue gangsterism happens elsewhere, I argued there is very likely some degree of political and law enforcement corruption considering the scale of racketeering and drug dealing that occurs here.

  • McGrath

    If the PB doesn’t educate the public, who will?

    Posted by Nevin on Nov 08, 2007 @ 08:42 PM

    I cant say I read everything on the policing boards web site (doesnt make for gripping reading) but I noticed their function includes the disciplining of senior officers. However, I wasn’t able to find anything in its publications that referred to any kind of real disciplinary matter or in fact any kind of direct criticism of the police force. (plenty of individual criticisms, but not much by the board itself) Maybe that’s what you were mentioning about the non public nature of their decision making. It did strike me as an rubber stamping organisation that exists just to go through the motions, which leads me to think the real tough questions and trickery happens elsewhere.