North is a safe, profitable place to invest, says Cameron
British prime minister insists Stormont institutions and the wider peace process are secure
British prime minister David Cameron speaking at the Invest Northern Ireland investment conference at the Titanic centre in Belfast today. Photograph: PA
Addressing more than 150 overseas investors, government and diplomatic officials, he urged the private sector to “put your money in Northern Ireland and be part of this incredible success story”.
In a speech at Belfast’s Titanic centre in the docklands, Mr Cameron stressed the Northern Ireland economy, like that in the UK as a whole” is turning a corner” and said that “new investments are pouring in”.
The region’s film and TV production sector was singled out for mention as the prime minister ran through a list of Northern Ireland’s best known products ranging from London’s red buses, made in Ballymena, Co Antrim, to Bushmills whiskey.
He announced that the Heritage Lottery Fund was poised to invest heavily in the Titanic drawing rooms in a building adjacent to the vistors’ centre where the famous liner was designed.
Praising aerospace manufacturers Bombardier, he said the Belfast plant’s £520 million (€620 million) investment would directly help more than 200 industrial suppliers throughout the North and Britain.
Northern Ireland was second only to London as a target for inward investment, he said.
He referred only briefly to Northern Ireland’s ongoing political problems and threatened instability at Executive level, insisting instead that the Stormont institutions and the wider peace were secure.
Political progress “will remain on track”, he said and Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson remain “dedicated to working together,” he said.
“It is not possible to agree on everything,” he said, emphasising plans to rid Belfast of its many peace lines between separated communities.
He referred to Queen Elizabeth’s hugely successful visit to the Republic and talked up efforts to agrees common visa arrangements between the Republic and the UK which would facilitate inward investment.
Co Fermanagh, he added, “hosted a great G8 summit and the safest G8 summit”.
He insisted he remains “passionate about what Northern Ireland has to offer”.
“Put your money in Northern Ireland and be part of this incredible success story,” he said. “You won’t be disappointed if you invest here.”