“Behind the scenes a lot of work has been taking place..”

No statement yet from the DETI Minister, but the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, MLA and MP for Mid Ulster, has apparently been lobbying to relocate the Hibernia Atlantic telehouse for Project Kelvin in Londonderry. [But has the polit-bureau agreed? – Ed] From BBC report.

The Foyle MP Mark Durkan said “more likely than not” the telehouse will now be located in Derry. “I believe that the company, Hibernia Atlantic, is minded after all the things they’ve heard that maybe returning to the original intended location of Derry is good. “There is a contract in place, so they would have to apply to make that change and of course that has to be approved by the project board and the two departments,” he said.

Update Hibernia Atlantic is to construct the telehouse in Londonderry.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “This is a pragmatic move by the company to advance this project forward and retain the good business reputation of Northern Ireland across the globe. “The rising level of negativity in Derry surrounding this project has created a real danger that the many benefits which Project Kelvin will deliver to local businesses and prospective investors would have been lost.” A cable landing point for the service will be in Coleraine, Co Derry.

And

The minister added: “The location of the telehouse, in the context of this project, is largely immaterial. The real benefits which will be delivered are the range of products and services which will be available at each of the eight points of presence located across Northern Ireland.

“Each location will have the same comparable costs, speed of service and infrastructure resilience. These are not dependent on the location of the telehouse and therefore, will provide an entirely level playing field.”

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  • kensei

    Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, MLA and MP for Mid Ulster, has apparently been lobbying to relocate the Hibernia Atlantic telehouse for Project Kelvin in Londonderry.

    The runners for this are Derry and Coleraine. Neither of which is in Mid Ulster but MMG is from Derry. Am I missing something?

  • cynic

    There’s a contract in place but ……….

    So what will be the price of a DUP roll over and the removal of jobs to ‘Derry be?

    The Head of a Minister who inst seen as managing their portfolio too well perhaps?

  • fair_deal

    WTF?

  • J Kelly

    Great news for Derry and well done to Martin and Martina for delivering and Standing Up For Derry.

  • Salem

    Good News for Derry – thanks to Mark Durkan and also thanks to SDLP Margaret Ritchie was also the only Minister to speak on behalf of Derry at the North-South Ministerial Council where this was discussed, at Magee !

    Whilst Sinn Fein might try to twist this press story to their advantage – it has been the SDLP who have really been standing up for derry and shouting from the rooftops !

  • disinterested observer

    There are no jobs in this – not one not any. It doesnt matter if its in Kilkeel or Kilrea

  • Archie Purple

    As a resident of the North-West, I have had to listen to the Paul McFadden Morning Show and Mark Patterson Afternoon show on Radio Foyle plus the various news programmes and it’s been Project Kelvin this and Kelvin that. You folk who listen to Radio Ulster haven’t had to listen to the garbage that we poor folk have had to.

    I have never heard so much disinformation being spewed out and encouraged by McFadden and the Lurgan born blow in Patterson. I’m no fan of the DUPes but hearing everyone from Mark Durkan, McGuinness, Anderson and a businessman draw comparisons with the location of the University in the 1960s and of course it was all the Unionists’ fault, this time the DUP. The businessman who shall remain nameless lodged a cheque with the Council for £50k to help fund a legal challenge to the decision to locate the project at Portrush. This same guy ‘stood up for ‘Derry’ by moving his business, lock, stock and barrel to Donegal a few years ago !!!!

    Not one of the many contributers to the numerous programes via email, text and on the phone, nor those invited to comment on the project appeared to have viewed the Project Company, Hibernia Atlantic’s website nor had they any idea of why Portrush was the preferred location. There were two main reasons: 1. The existing cable of which Kelvin will be an offshoot, passes just off Portrush on its way from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada to Southport in England and 2. There are problems in bringing the cable up Lough Foyle as a cable laying ship can’t access the Lough.

    I would suggest a third…to bring a cable up the Foyle will cost much more and as it isn’t travelling overland from Portrush to Londonderry, will miss out Limavady. I suggest that those of you who might not subscribe to the ‘Derry whinge’ will take the trouble to look at the relevant website page, which is:

    http://www.hiberniaatlantic.com/documents/HA_NIreland_Routes1.pdf

    As you will see, if the Telehouse is located in Londonderry, then the cable [if it technically possible] will come up the lough and then have to be rerouted overland back through Limavady to Coleraine or alternatively once it goes around Northern Ireland anti-clockwise to Coleraine travel on to Limavady. At the cost per metre of this work, that will add a few more millon quid to the price, all because the ‘Derry wans’ want a telehouse, something the size of the average touring caravan with 2 / 3 technical staff at the most, located in their area.

    Of course High Tech companies locate around the general area of these telehouses, but the Maiden City would have been no worse off were it located in Portrush. Many similar types of operations in the USA and other parts of Europe have companies located 30+ miles from the telehouse but the ‘Derry whingers always want to portray as hard done by with the ‘we wuz robbed’ girn, forgetting that they are just a large town of 110k of a population and are not Northern Ireland’s second city; they are now the third city after Lisburn!!!

    I trust that the location will remain in Portrush as I believe it is the best location for technical reasons and will be the most cost effective.

    However, it is good to see Marty and Martina ‘standing up for Derry’….rather than blowing up Derry which occurred reguarly when Marty last held a Deputy position, that of 2 I/C of the ‘Derry’ Brigade of the IRA and Martina was a terror moll ferrying bombs around Scotland and England.

  • P Bradley

    Archie – you didn’t need to endure all that torture. Radio Belfast, sorry Ulster, is available on medium wave. With your obvious technical expertise I’m surprised you couldn’t have tuned in to the biggest blow in the country rather than suffering Paul Mc Fadden.

  • The Raven

    Ah! Archie Purple has access to the presentation I mentioned some time ago.

    I suggest a fourth way. The original “landing zone” when such a project was mooted some time ago, was actually through Limavady, specifically (IIRC) at Benone.

    Perhaps we could put “the big shed” there? I understand however that some environmental designations may scupper that, but it would be a reasonable half-way house, would it not?

    Archie. It’s blatently obvious that Derry wans don’t go beyond Eglinton, and decry even a single call centre going beyond Ballykelly. And it’s obvious that they don’t realise that this project is of regional benefit.

    So while other countries would be cock-a-hoop at the overall potential of this project, they reduce it to comparisons of the NUU debacle in 19-effing-sixty something. Your post is informative, but misguided – they’ll never change.

  • Pete Baker

    It’s worth considering whom exactly Martin McGuinness is lobbying on behalf of.

    Particularly since he has reportedly been “in discussions with officials in the office of the Taoiseach” as well as Tuesday’s meeting with the DETI Minister.

    It can’t be in his capacity as deputy First Minister – unless that was already agreed by the joint holder of the office of OFMDFM. Or even the Northern Ireland Executive.

    And it certainly isn’t as an elected representative of Mid Ulster – as Ken pointed out, they don’t have a dog in the hunt.

    So, once again, have the polit-bureau already agreed to this?

    Or is it, as fair deal suggests, WTF?

  • joeCanuck

    What I am most interested in is : What colour will they paint the big shed?

  • Archie Purple

    Raven: 1. Of course I have access to ‘what you mentioned’ [apparently] sometime ago. It’s called the Internet.

    2. How am I ‘misguided’? Explain yourself please !!

  • BOM

    Whilst I understand that the politicians in Derry have to be seen to be “standing up for Derry” I cannot understand why boht Martin, Mark and Martina are spending time stalling this project and not actually looking into things to see that it is irrelevant where the telehouse will be situated and that the good news is the level of communication that the cable will bring to NI and not just Coleraine.

    They are obviously going to scupper this for Coleraine and Derry and hold the project even more years – what a waste of time!

    Perhaps they could think of the ordinary person on the ground and the issues that are currently affecting them. I want to see the politicians doing something for the ordinary person – not messing about a “standing up” for something that isnt worth “standing up” for!

    You didnt hear anyone from Coleraine on giving off about the millions to be spent at the UU in Derry or Belfast – why was there no mention of money for UUC? We need to be constructive not destructive and these Derry wans will simply hold everything back and the whole project will be lost.

  • Joksta

    Here we go again. As I commented on the previous ‘kelvingate’ blog, no-one could explain why Assemblyman McQuillan of the DUP is on record stating he did his upmost to lobby Arlene Foster to have the telehouse in Coleraine. Why when a similar cable came ashore at Wexford in the republic did the Irish government see to it that the cable was run up the coast and its corresponding telehouse built in Dublin? According to the ‘experts’ on here the datacentre might as well be located in Timbuktoo! It is only a portacabin after all! Derek Bullock of Hibernia Atlantic also stated, “There are many benefits of direct, international connectivity for the Coleraine region.” He didn’t say Northern Ireland but Coleraine region – or will some of you construe that as meaning all of Northern Ireland?

    There is also the fact that none of the relevant parties such as the Irish government and EU were informed of the location change until the last minute. This was contrary to original agreement and therefore the decision should be reversed. Funny how when someone argues to help their own town/city they’re seen as good citizens but when it comes to ‘Derry wans’ trying to improve the economic prospects of an employment blackspot, the rest of the province bitches about the ‘Derry whinge’.

    Posted by Archie Purple on Feb 18, 2009 @ 09:13 PM
    ‘’forgetting that they are just a large town of 110k of a population and are not Northern Ireland’s second city; they are now the third city after Lisburn!!!’’

    Ah this fairy tale again! Derry (pop. 90,663) has never been the 3rd largest city in Northern Ireland. Lisburn (pop. 71,465 – 3rd city) isn’t even the 3rd largest settlement as that would be Bangor (pop. 76,403). Lisburn COUNCIL AREA is the second largest but only because it ropes in surrounding villages and suburbs of Belfast, which are not part of the city! You could at least try and be accurate. Its amusing coming on to slugger to see those from outside Derry attempt to reduce the status of what they consider ‘the lost city of Londonderry’!

    Posted by BOM on Feb 19, 2009 @ 01:32 PM
    ‘’these Derry wans will simply hold everything back and the whole project will be lost.’’

    That’s not a Derry phenomenon – John Lewis or Maze Stadium anyone? I suppose you also feel the same about those blocking these developments based on ‘principle’? They are hurting the local economy after all.

  • The Raven

    “No-one could explain why Assemblyman McQuillan of the DUP is on record stating he did his upmost to lobby Arlene Foster to have the telehouse in Coleraine.” I can. It’s his job. Much, I am sure, as it is for Marty, Martyina etc to do so.

    “It is only a portacabin after all!” Didn’t the expert say it was a very large shed?

    “He didn’t say Northern Ireland but Coleraine region – or will some of you construe that as meaning all of Northern Ireland?”

    Let me submit some notes from Hibernia:

    “One of the key objectives of Project Kelvin is to improve international telecommunications infrastructure between Northern Ireland and North America and Northern Ireland and Mainland Europe and hence fuel development in Industry, Commerce and Trade for the region.”

    “Project Kelvin means the first direct communications link of its kind into Northern Ireland.”

    “Additionally a company looking to increase its footprint into the island of Ireland or any Irish company looking to increase its capacity and reach out to either Europe or North America.”

    “The cable is a new submarine cable from our existing transAtlantic cable that will link Armagh, Ballymena, Belfast, Coleraine, Londonderry, Omagh, Portadown and Strabane to Europe and North America. In addition, the cable will also provide links to Letterkenny, Castleblayney, Dundalk, Drogheda, and Monaghan”

    “The terrestrial cable will interconnect the new telehouse in Coleraine with Londonderry, Letterkenny, Strabane, Omagh, Armagh, Portadown, Belfast and Ballymena in a ring configuration.”

    “Cable landing points are usually carefully chosen to be in areas:
    that have little marine traffic to minimise the risk of cables being damaged by anchors and fishing operations
    with gently sloping, sandy or silty sea floors so that the cable can be buried to minimize the change of damage
    without strong currents that would uncover buried cable”

    (The Raven asks – anybody intimately acquainted with the nature of the Foyle and its channel that can comment? I am going to speak to someone in the know on this, but I understand constant dredging is required, and that the bottom of the channel is by no means sandy or silty, indeed it is much more coarse.)

    And so it goes on, Joksta. But nobody questions anyone fighting for their own town. What many of us, from Ballycastle to Limavady DO question, is why, time and again, Derry City gets to block developments that don’t end up on their doorstep, and why few of the rest of us get to wet our beaks in the inward investment trail that seems to stop at the city walls. Two inward investment visits to East Londonderry in the past year? Hmmm.

  • Pete Baker

    Update Hibernia Atlantic is to construct the telehouse in Londonderry.

    Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “This is a pragmatic move by the company to advance this project forward and retain the good business reputation of Northern Ireland across the globe. “The rising level of negativity in Derry surrounding this project has created a real danger that the many benefits which Project Kelvin will deliver to local businesses and prospective investors would have been lost.” A cable landing point for the service will be in Coleraine, Co Derry.

  • The Raven

    quod erat demonstrandum

  • Foster’s ‘minded’ decision on the telehouse didn’t last as long as her one on the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre!!

  • The disgraceful decision to switch the Project Kelvin Telehouse from Derry to Coleraine will now be reversed.

    Praise for this must go to the Foyle MP Mark Durkan for leading the dogged campaign against the decision to house the Telehouse in Coleraine.

    Mr Durkan has raised his opposition to the switch of the Telehouse from Derry to Coleraine with DETI, the Department of Communications in Dublin, the Special EU Programmes Body and OFMDFM. He also chaired the questioning of DETI officials and Hibernia Atlantic during an Assembly Enterprise Committee session. SDLP Minister Margaret Ritchie was also the only Minister to speak on behalf of Derry at the North-South Ministerial Council where this was discussed, at Magee in January.

    It now seems that Martin McGuinness is trying to claim credit for the reversal of this decision. The truth is that if Martin and his officials hadn’t been sleeping on the job this campaign would not have been necessary. Why did it take Margaret Ritchie and Mark Durkan to raise the issue? You would imagine that the Deputy First Minister (if he was on top of his brief) would never have let the decision be taken. This is just another example of the DUP running rings around Sinn Fein at Stormont

  • fecked off

    Credit? You want someone to actually take credit for the biggest whingefest since the late 60’s?

    Tell me, Councillor – why is it that despite just about every inward investment visit in the North West going to Derry, you still consistently have the highest claimant count, one of the highest dependencies on disability allowances, one of the lowest educational attainments in the 19-25 age range, etc etc etc.

    I’m hardly surprised they gave it to you, I suppose.

    “hi”

  • P Bradley

    The Raven “What many of us, from Ballycastle to Limavady DO question, is why, time and again, Derry City gets to block developments that don’t end up on their doorstep”

    Care to give us some detail on, let’s say, 3 of these developments that you claim are part of this collection that Derry wans have blocked “time and again”?

  • P Bradley

    To Fecked Off – “every inward investment visit in the North West going to Derry”

    Please give us details.

    Thanks

  • P Bradley

    I’m still waiting for an attempt at an answer.

  • Sunningdale1973

    Northern Ireland in a nutshell – we would rather keep on fighting to make sure the other guy gets nothing rather than take a chance that we both get something.

    Moving the telehouse to Derry will add nothing to the chances of investment into the city (and not a milli-second to the latency on the line) – but the haranging of international business people by local elected representatives about a forty year old snub to the city has done nothing but harm to Derry.

    A bit of imagination and some creative marketing could yet make this project result in jobs. But, so long as our political class (and numerous commentators on this blog and other fora) prefer the bitter solace of perpetual victimhood to the uncomfortable real-politik of working collaboratively, we have no chance surviving this recession.

  • P Bradley

    Sunningdale1973 – All you have said is “Don’t bother lobbying for your constituency”. Sorry – doesn’t work for any NI constituency. Maybe you would vote for a politician who would go for this – I wouldn’t. The original ITT said “Derry”. Thank God we didn’t settle for some woose who said “OK, roll over on me”.

  • Not fecked off

    P Bradley. I browse here occassionally. Threads come and go so dont wait round too much. Not in a position to answer for anyone else. But this might help.

    http://www.londonderrysentinel.co.uk/roe/Only-two-investors-see-Borough.4988350.jp

    two is pretty crap like, given it covers around 85000 people which isnt THAT mcuh less than Derry Citys area.

  • Sunningdale1973

    P Bradley, my point isn’t about whether its is right to lobby for your constituency. Mark et al are not only within their rights to do so – they are obliged to. My issue on Kelvin is that the telehouse was a red herring which in itself does bugger all – except that it projected a histerical reaction and apparent underlying sectarianism (from both sides – cf last week’s Newsletter)to the international business world just at a time when it was looking at NI because of the project. This has hurt us all but I suspect Derry will suffer worst of all.

    A more mature reation to the sighting of the telehouse would be put togther a coalition of business, politicians and the academics from the rapidly expanding Magee Campus to aggressively sell Derry as the prime location for FDI. Such a positive approach could have put considerable political pressure on Arlene Foster and Invest NI to ensure that No1 on Invest NI’s FDI priorities would be to bring in a big high tech inward investment into the city.

    This is the approach to growing a local economy which has been applied in other more business astute locations such as the West Coast of US, East Midlands, Shannon Corridor, New England, Mumbai.

    But then this is Northern Ireland,where its always easier to fall into the “them’uns is at fault” approach.In the long term we will always be an economic backwater unless we start to grow up and realise that too often to the international business world we look more like part of the Balkans or Afganistan riven with tribalism rather than a well educated western region open for business.

  • gerard.donaghy16

    to nevin. ….nice dig at foster over the causeway debacle. the whole kelvin business was needlessly drwn out by civil servants trying to repeat the sixties stitchup over the nuu site. foster has really put both feet in it since, if it was really immaterial where the t.h. was situated, why did she earlier make a point of congratulating the coleraine backers.