Hamilton welcomes Noonan’s attitude to banks and NI economy
First official encounter between Northern Ireland Finance Minister and Republic’s Minister for Finance described as ‘very constructive’
Northern Ireland Finance Minister Simon Hamilton suggested there was a strong “symmetry” in the issues that the North and the Republic faced as a result of the property crashes they had suffered.
The North’s Finance Minister Simon Hamilton said he is confident that Minister for Finance Michael Noonan recognises the “vitally important” role that Irish banks such as AIB and Bank of Ireland play in the economy of Northern Ireland.
Speaking after the two Ministers’ first official face-to-face meeting in Dublin this week, Mr Hamilton suggested there was a strong “symmetry” in the issues that the North and the South simultaneously faced as a result of the property crashes they had both suffered.
Mr Hamilton, who was appointed Finance Minister in July, said high on the agenda during their first meeting was how the problems in the Irish banks were being dealt with and how in this in turn was being applied to their operations in the North.
He said Northern Ireland businesses had particular difficulties accessing finance and he was pleased that Irish banks had embraced a UK government initiative, Funding for Lending, which could help them to increase lending to local businesses.
Mr Hamilton said Mr Noonan, a former Fine Gael spokesman on Northern Ireland, was sympathetic to the “mutual interests” of both economies.
An official in Dublin described Mr Noonan’s first official encounter with Mr Hamilton as “very constructive”.
A spokesman said the two Ministers had discussed what he termed “a range of items of common interest”.
The inaugural meeting between the two has provided a fitting backdrop to Mr Noonan’s plans to deliver his first address directly to the business community in the North.
Mr Noonan is scheduled to give a keynote speech at a lunch event in Belfast later this month that will be hosted by the Confederation of British Industry in the North.