News of investment in NI may be good enough to be true

Wow!

36 deals worth £392 million secured in the first quarter of 2016

I admit I don’t really understand what the figures mean and how much accrues to people who live and work in northern Ireland. Still, it seems like good news for the professional classes in high tech.

In the first quarter of 2015, there were 42 deals valued at £205.7 million (€256.6m): this year, in the same period, just 36 deals were concluded but at a combined worth of £392.3 million. The jump, Experian says, is down to one deal – the £340 million acquisition by Australian group Wesfarmers’ of Belfast-based Hampden Group, which trades under the brand Homebase, from the Home Retail Group

Turning to the swamps and deserts of property finance, equally amazing is Cerberus’s write off of Paddy Kearney’s £250 million Nama debt. The Bel Tel  intro refers to  :  US vulture fund Cerberus. Deliberate, or a Freudian slip for “ venture?”  Either way the write off It leaves the group, “ going forward( to) the regeneration of Belfast city centre”. As I say, amazing.  Do I hear the faintest echo of  2007-8? Surely not.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London