“Transactions with these related companies are conducted on an arms length basis.”

In Wednesday’s Belfast Telegraph David Gordon detailed some of the links between Invest NI board members and the companies which received grants in 2008/9. More details in the Invest NI annual report 2008/9 [pdf file]. From the Belfast Telegraph.

Economic development quango Invest NI paid grants to a number of companies linked to its own board members last year, it has been revealed. The agency has stressed that such transactions with bodies connected to its Government-appointed board members are “inevitable”.

As Newton Emerson says in today’s Irish News [subs req]

Invest NI has once again dismissed concerns that it funds firms linked to its own board, by claiming that Northern Ireland’s small size makes this “inevitable”. In occasional and exceptional circumstances, perhaps. But 34 grants linked to 14 out of 15 board members in a year? Maybe the problem is not that Northern Ireland is too small but that Invest NI is too big.