“made it clear that you are open to foreign investment..”

On the anniversary of the devolution of our “experimental form of government”, the new Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, flies into Belfast on his first official public engagement. He’ll meet beleaguered Prime Minister Gordon Brown for lunch and then on to the Assembly to talk to delegates from the investment conference. They’ve already seen video messages from EU President Jose Manuel Barroso and from out-going US President George Bush.

In his message [George Bush] said: “Free market policies have been proven effective in economies across the world, and Northern Ireland has made it clear that you are open to foreign investment.”

One point from the RTÉ report requires clarification.

At a time of falling pension fund values, New York has committed €150m for investment purposes in the North.

Should read – “New York City Pension Funds have committed $150 million for investment purposes in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and in the US.”

The details are in this previous post.

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  • Damian O’Loan

    Free market ultra-liberalism has indeed proven “effective” in Sudan, Zimbabwe, El Salvador, the Philippines, Somalia, the DRC, Palestine and the list goes on. Finally, more people have died in the name of the ‘free’ market than did in the Shoah.

    Whilst job announcements always sound good, let’s be aware of what we’ew buying and selling here.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Whilst job announcements always sound good, let’s be aware of what we’ew buying and selling here. ‘

    Aware ? Mostly the NI economy functions by just exchanging the English taxpayers ‘monies’ to be redistributed among the 70% of the NI economy that feeds off it .

    To be blunt beggars can’t be choosers .

    Any private sector investment that comes from this conference will help NI -just don’t expect too much given the world economic outlook at present .

  • gram

    >>Aware ? Mostly the NI economy functions by just exchanging the English taxpayers ‘monies’ to be redistributed among the 70% of the NI economy that feeds off it <

  • Driftwood

    Greenflag, I suspect very little will come of this conference, subsidised, meaningless, middle management jobs as mentioned here, are the norm for many here.

    The web of meaninglessness

    Theodore Dalrymple

    Observations on the NHS

    Having recently retired from the National Health Service, I thought I might soon miss the work, particularly contact with patients. But I was recently sent a circular from the NHS trust by which I was formerly employed that reminds me how little I miss the increasing managerialism of the service. It succeeds in combining fatuity with a hint of menace.
    The circular, signed by the “Improving Working Lives Lead Nurse”, concerned a series of meetings called 20/20 meetings. This was because they were to be held on the 20th of the month and were to last at least 20 minutes. (I can just imagine how proud the managers were of coming up with such a name, with its poetic connotation of perfect eyesight.)
    The purpose of these meetings was “to engage staff in developing the core principles of our service”. The meetings were to be “treated as a matter of priority” and were to occur more or less simultaneously throughout the trust; everybody was to be encouraged to attend, which in the event meant bullying them. Managers were to “reinforce the importance of the meeting” and “portray it in a positive light”.
    Each meeting was to begin with a manager reading a script out loud. This consisted of seven platitudes, badly or ambiguously expressed, the first of which was: “If in doubt, sort things out which are best for our patient in the first instance.’ Another pearl above price was: “There is usually a better way of doing things.”
    One hundred and twenty doctors, among others, with approximately 3,600 years of education and training between them, were supposed to listen to these banali-ties and offer comments. The comments are what is known to management as “feedback”. The purpose of asking for this is to entangle people in the web of meaninglessness.
    A long interest in the political propaganda of dictatorships has convinced me that the purpose of such propaganda is not to describe, much less to persuade or change people, but to humiliate them. The more at variance with reality the slogans are, the better: nothing is more destructive of people’s ability to resist than forced acquiescence to what they know is tripe.
    On a small scale, this is the object of NHS management (and no doubt management in other services). The document implicitly acknowledges it: “Please try to avoid and discourage any cynicism.” This suggests that they know perfectly well how most people would react to 20/20 meetings. You wouldn’t have to be a professor to find the injunctions to “Try to look at the whole picture” or “Always be courteous and respectful” insulting.
    This is doublethink. When managers say “avoid and discourage cynicism”, what they mean is “promote and encourage cynicism”. Careerists and opportunists as they are (though the blame ultimately lies with those who gave them their opportunity), they need to reduce everyone to below their own level. A cynical, demoralised workforce, without independence of action or thought, is easy to manipulate. And the ultimate goal? A world in which everyone just obeys orders.

  • Mr Angry

    Brian Cowens’ first official public engagement as Taoiseach involves a lunch – whodathunkit?

  • The Raven

    Dubya said: “Northern Ireland has made it clear that you are open to foreign investment.”

    ….and yet we cannot seem to give support to many of our own companies who need that small assistance to get to the next level.

    Whodathunkit, indeed.

  • Visitor Eile

    Heard on Radio Ulster – Blas – tonight that there was another investment conference in Belfast today, a cultural economy conference.

    Representatives from here, England, USA, Spain etc. were speaking about the economic potential of the new Gaeltacht Quarter.

    Any news on this?

  • Mr Angry

    “Any news on this?”


    It’s a fantastically opportunist move by Sinn Fein to “own” a language and develop a “Gaeltacht Quarter” in their own electoral constituencey whilst taking the bread off the tables of those in Donegal etc who advocated the teaching of the language whilst they themselves cowered in darkened corners of Hawthorne Street coercing young men and women into sacrificing their lives for an Ireland which they are now proactively seeking to destroy.

    Is that enough?

  • RG Cuan


    Jesus! The Gaeltacht Quarter is a project that has the support of renowned urban planners, architects and others who believe the concept has the potential to renew and reinvigorate the west of Belfast. It’s nothing to do with SF!

    The point about Donegal is ridiculous and if you’re talking about Cumann Chluain Ard on Hawthorne St., i’m not sure what it was like, but it’s now a pretty happening, relaxed spot with a monthly night club called An G Spota – you should call in sometime for a bit of fun!

    Or maybe you don’t get out too much?

  • Visitor Eile

    From the piece i heard it sounded pretty good. My Irish isn’t super but millionare Peter Quinn was the chairperson and there were representaives from TG4, USA and Catalunya.

  • Eoin O’Donnell

    Perhaps somebody could explain this to a simpleton like me-why is Ireland encouraging investment and investing in NI? What does Ireland receive in return?Why is Ireland propping up a part of the UK?

  • Visitor Eile

    Why is Ireland propping up a part of the UK?

    Because someday it won’t be – the southern government is planning for the future amd creating a better island.