Conditions.. and investments..

As BBC NI political editor, Mark Devenport, indicates on his blog, the New York City comptroller, William Thompson, has indicated that he has some expectations of projects selected by the Emerald Fund – “I think that they understand that we are still committed to the MacBride Principles and I think that they’ll make that clear to anybody they’re going to do business with.” Presumably those 9 principles will also apply to projects in the Republic of Ireland and in the US.. Meanwhile, in the Irish News, Newton Emerson points out that the Fund’s target area, infrastructure, “are all public or public-private utilities so American investors must be paid back through higher bills and fares.” And, in an Irish Echo editorial, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams tells us potential US investors

Sinn Féin is determined to ensure that those who are living in the most deprived and divided areas of the North do not end up getting the least out of increased prosperity and peace. That is why for example new guidelines for public procurement policy are being prepared to ensure that socially beneficial outcomes are delivered for communities.

Public procurement would, of course, be a policy area of the Minister of Finance and Personnel..

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  • Some comments re.MacBride and payback to US investors have already been aired here. Perhaps the NYC comptroller needs to expand on his remarks.

  • George

    Pete,
    Presumably those 9 principles will also apply to projects in the Republic of Ireland and in the US..

    No, as the MacBride Principles are a corporate code of conduct for U.S. Companies doing business in Northern Ireland.

  • betterireland

    This was in fact an initiave begun by Mark Durkan as MInister for Finance.

    He set up a review group involving equality expert Prof Chris McCrudden to take this work forward and subsequently brought a paper to the Executive on it.

    The work then was taken forward under direct rule with the piloting of 20 projects. These proved successful. And because of this Peter Robinson is continuing on with the initiative

    It’s nice that Gerry Adams thinks it such a good idea that he claims it’s Sinn Fein’s.

    It’s also a pretty clear confirmation – if any were needed – that Sinn Fein is failing to make its own stamp on government.

  • Dave

    I notice Pete Baker didn’t stipulate that the MacBribe Principles be extended to the rest of the UK, obviously taking due care not to bite the hand that feeds it.

  • Dave, you may not have noted that the rest of the UK may not be receiving Emerald funds.

  • willowfield

    Two questions:

    1. How do the “MacBride principles” differ from current employment law in Northern Ireland?

    2. What return is available for investing in an “infrastructure project”?

  • willowfield

    Two questions:

    1. How do the “MacBride principles” differ from current employment law in Northern Ireland?

    2. What return is available from investing in an “infrastructure project”?

  • George, what is the name used for the corporate code of conduct for (some) U.S. Companies doing business in the RoI?

  • Willowfield

    1. How do the “MacBride principles” differ from current employment law in Northern Ireland?

    Probably not much. So there’s nothing to get worked up about, is there?

    2. What return is available from investing in an “infrastructure project”?

    Lots. Lots and lots.

    Have you ever heard of the M50 in Dublin? Have you ever driven in France? Most of modern infrastructural projects include large dollops of hungry private investment, and for the good reason that there is a good return to be made.

  • elvis parker

    I welcome this – the under- representation of Protestants in workforces in places like Derry and Newry must be addressed

  • JD

    BetterIreland, i think if you ask William Thompson and indeed the New York State Controller who may be on the verge of contributing even more funds to the Emerald Fund, who has been at the forefront of securing this equality focused investment, I think you will find Gerry Adams is right.

  • willowfield

    Horesman

    Probably not much.

    Could you be specific? What are the specific differences, if any?

    Have you ever heard of the M50 in Dublin?

    Yes.

    Have you ever driven in France?

    Yes.

    Most of modern infrastructural projects include large dollops of hungry private investment, and for the good reason that there is a good return to be made.

    You haven’t answered my question. What is the return? How is it made? Through tolls?

  • Willowfield

    What is the return? How is it made? Through tolls?

    Tolls, charges (water, electricity, gas, landing charges …), you name it. Come on, surely somewhere in the unionist psyche there is at least a vague memory of how to make money!

  • willowfield

    Thanks.

    Roads, etc., are usually built with public money – we don’t have any toll roads in NI, so this would be a first if what you say is true.

    Of course there are PFIs – is that what we’re talking about here? Thus far there has been plenty of take-up of PFI opportunities by the private sector, so why the need specifically to go to the US and ask them to invest?

    I’m afraid I’m not clear exactly what is being proposed. (And I suspect neither are you.)

  • Willowfield

    I’m afraid I’m not clear exactly what is being proposed. (And I suspect neither are you.)

    Of course I don’t know what is being proposed. If I had that kind of insider information I’d use it to get even richer 😉

  • PFI? Is that where big business sees the political and bureaucratic suckers coming? 😉

  • wild turkey

    ‘PFI? Is that where big business sees the political and bureaucratic suckers coming? 😉 ‘

    yes nevin… and very ‘astute’ suckers at that

    technically it is known as
    Pathetic Fucking Idiots

  • pacman

    “I welcome this – the under- representation of Protestants in workforces in places like Derry and Newry must be addressed”

    I’m sure it will be when any significant number of new jobs are located there or anywhere else outside of Belfast, North Down or South Antrim. Mind you, they could all just come and slum it with the migrant Eastern European workers.

  • To be quite honest, the amount of money being proposed for investment by the NYC comptroller is not that great. It wouldn’t build a half-decent (toll)road to anywhere, and would be swallowed up in an instant by Belfast’s infrastructural needs. What the story is about is a signal of Irish-American support for the new dispensation, just as the IFSC ‘jobs’ are a signal of Dublin’s support. The nitty-gritty of how much, where it goes, what the return is, etc, is largely irrelevant. This is a ‘good news’ story, not a major economic advance.

    The US investor conference in May will be more of the same. It is all about copper-fastening the slightly shaky ‘deal’ that the DUP haven’t really made with SF. It is all designed to show the simpler folk what wonders await them if they would only stop messing around and get down to work.

    Unfortunately all of these things couldn’t have come at a worse time. The NYC money will be sorely missed back home, and the Comptroller will really have to show a good rate of return to justify taking the money away from US investments. The IFSC jobs may never materialise, if there is shrinkage in that sector. And, as the icing on the cake, if London starts to feel a squeeze, cuts may be made in the safety net that the north so relies on.

    All in all, I’d say things might get a bit tighter this year.

  • George

    Nevin,
    George, what is the name used for the corporate code of conduct for (some) U.S. Companies doing business in the RoI?

    I assume the corporate code for U.S. companies trading in the Irish Republic is the same as for any other Western European democracy.

    But rather than wondering about the corporate codes for other jurisdictions perhaps it would be more productive for you to ask why it is that the New York Comptroller felt the need to put in place a special corporate code of conduct for U.S. Companies doing business in Northern Ireland.

  • Funny you should ask, George. Watch this space!!

  • IJP

    Willowfield

    Does kind of lead to two further questions, doesn’t it?

    1. Why is “Socialist” Sinn Féin accessing funds for PFI projects?

    2. Why is the DUP dealing with someone committed to the MacBride principles?

  • IJP, it’s maybe ‘out of that New Labour mould’: New Labour, New SF, New DUP, Old Conservative. Let’s just call it the Third Way: borrow now, pay through the neck later.

  • Dave

    “Dave, you may not have noted that the rest of the UK may not be receiving Emerald funds.” – Nevin

    What has that got to do with it? As George points out, the MacBride Principles are “a corporate code of conduct for U.S. Companies doing business in Northern Ireland.” He was responding to Pete Baker’s comment that “Presumably those 9 principles will also apply to projects in the Republic of Ireland and in the US.” I pointed out that Pete Baker curiously omitted “the rest of the UK” from his extension of the applicable criteria, wondering why he did so. If he wishes to extend the MacBride Principles beyond Northern Ireland, why omit the rest of the UK? Since the apply to countries which allow sectarian employment practices, they apply to the UK in that context and if one wished to extend them, then extending them to the rest of the UK would be more appropriate than extending them to countries where they are not applicable.

  • Dave

    “Funny you should ask, George. Watch this space!! ” – Nevin

    It’s funny he should ask or funny that you wouldn’t answer?

    What’s the matter, Nevin? Are you having a hard job accepting that a part of the United Kingdom has earned a well-deserved reputation for sectarian practices in equal employment opporunities and in the workplace?

  • noel adams

    THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
    One area that does not seem to have been actioned according to EU commissioner Huber is a loan fund from European Investment Bank called JESSICA which can be used for inner city regeneration or social housing.Interest would have to be paid but a lot less than PFI.The programe runs 2007 to 2013 so still time to sort something out.If anyone wants to look at the programe i got it by googling european investment bank jessica.

  • BfB

    The MacBride Principles — consisting of nine fair employment principles — are a corporate code of conduct for companies doing business in Northern Ireland and have become the Congressional standard for all US aid to, or for economic dealings with, Northern Ireland.

    They have no standing in the US. Minorities have much more hand holding, pocket filling protection. Hell, you don’t even have to be a citizen, let alone a minority, to get your ass wiped around here.
    White men need not apply.

  • feckit

    What is an equality expert? It’s a career path I think I want to follow.