Taste of Northern Ireland:  the tourist board is preparing to serve up a new initiative to attract visitors

Ballygally Castle Hotel on the Antrim coast is offering ‘Game of Thrones’ afternoon tea and tourists are flocking there to sample (...)

The British treasury estimates it would cost the Northern Ireland Executive about £325 million (€440 million) to cut the corporation tax rate in the North. Photograph: PA

Northern business umbrella group says figure would be close to £192m

Edward Carson’s statue in Stormont. Two business figures in the North, accountant David Watters and property developer Andrew Creighton are to be invited to appear before the Stormont inquiry investigating the sale of Nama’s Northern Ireland “Project Eagle” loan portfolio. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA

David Watters and Andrew Creighton invited to attend investigation into sale of Nama’s NI portfolio

B&Q has said it will be focused on “redeploying” as many people as possible

Stores closing at Sprucefield, Ballymena, Craigavon, Derry and Belfast

The North is forecast to have one of the highest rates of house-price growth in the UK this year

New property bubble not forecast as ‘buying public are much more educated’

Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and CBI Northern Ireland chairman Colin Walsh  at the CBI annual lunch . Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye.

Lobby wants to see reform of Executive

Jamie Bryson leaving Parliament Buildings in Belfast: He told  the finance and personnel committee that former first minister, Peter Robinson, was one of five people earmarked to benefit from the Project Eagle sale. Robinson denies the claim. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

McGuinness tells a Stormont inquiry he was ‘kept in the dark’ about Project Eagle sell-off

DUP leader and former Northern Ireland first minister Peter Robinson. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

DUP leader rejects allegation made by loyalist blogger as ‘scurrilous’

 DUP leader and Former Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson.  A loyalist blogger and flag protestor on Wednesday alleged that the former first minister, Peter Robinson, was one of five people earmarked to financially benefit from the sale of Nama’s portfolio in the North. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

McGuinness ‘kept in dark’ about controversial Nama deal

 Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is the first senior politician who has agreed to appear at the committee. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Committee to debate whether Jamie Bryson’s evidence should be aired in public

Sir Edward Carson’s statue at Stormont: keeping lights on in the parliament might seem a challenge due to gloomy political backdrop in the North. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Unified approach to electricity – between Soni and EirGrid – benefits the whole island

Report  commissioned by NISP Connect, an independent, non-profit organisation at the Northern Ireland Science Park, measured data on exports, productivity, gross value added and wages

Knowledge Economy report shows NI supported 410 new business start-ups last year

The North’s long-term jobless rate of 58 per cent is nearly twice that of the UK

Unemployment rate stands at 6.2 per cent

Cerberus say it had contact with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson (above) and former minister of finance Simon Hamilton before the acquisition of Nama’s North portfolio. Photograph:   Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

New York investment firm that bought Nama portfolio in North met Peter Robinson and Simon Hamilton among others

Lord Mayor of Belfast Arder Carson who is going to Boston to encourage investment. Previous visits by politicians to the US have proved fruitful but there is not even a minister for enterprise in the North at the moment. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Visits to the US to encourage investment in Belfast are a challenge in current climate

Mr  Frank Cushnahan. Photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Presseye

Former Nama advisor denies conflict of interest and legality of recordings of his phone calls in office of bookmaker Sean P Graham(...)

Shopping in Newry. The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium has warned that political instability could damage consumer confidence.

Retail body warns that political turmoil could also damage future investment

 The combined turnover of housing associations in the North was £214 million last year Photograph: Laura Hutton

More new social houses constructed in North than in average area in Britain

The new operations centre will be based in Belfast

Manchester headquartered business service firm opening contact centre

Minister for Fisheries Michelle O’Neill: she  is more preoccupied with the dairy crisis in the North which has been sparked by the steep drop in milk prices. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sea Source urging more businesses to buy fish and shellfish caught by local fishermen

Randox’s  telecoms infrastructure upgrade will involve laying down 12 kilometres of fibre-optic cable, stretching from Nutts Corner to the Lough Neagh shoreline. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Biotechnology firm also creates new network to deliver superfast broadband in Antrim

Property developer Gareth Graham (centre) leaving Stormont after speaking to the inquiry about his dealings with Cerberus. Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Graham tells Stormont inquiry US firm had adopted approach that was unreasonable

Northern Ireland businessman Gareth Graham (centre) leaving Stormont after speaking to the Nama inquiry. Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker

Businessman says he is legally in possession of recorded calls made by Frank Cushnahan

A prominent Northern Ireland businessman, Gareth Graham, who is currently engaged in a legal battle with the American investment fund that acquired Nama’s former portfolio in the North, is to give evidence to the Stormont inquiry investigating the sale.

Graham is property developer involved in legal battle with US firm Cerberus

“I don’t think there was a proper debate about what a lower rate of corporation tax could mean. I believe it could be a game-changer”

Some of the current directors of Northern Ireland plc have not quite fulfilled their responsibility

Belfast’s Titanic museum. The North is now the sixth most affluent part of the UK, according to Barclays. Photograph: Getty

Barclays research suggests property market is a driver behind new generation of wealth

Belfast-headquartered UTV Media group confirmed yesterday it is in discussions with a view to a potential sale of its television assets. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ulster Unionist party leader urges Northern Ireland-based buyout

The committee met briefly on Thursday to establish its next step in the inquiry Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Group investigating the £1bn sale of Nama’s Northern loan book to Cerberus

Karen and Darren Gardiner: When Gardiner and his wife opened the first Ground Espresso Bar in 2001 in Coleraine it was more of a ‘hobby’ than a purely business venture he admits.

Shoppers are spending less in the North except in new coffee bars

Derry’s guildhall: the North’s unemployment rate of 6.5 per cent remains above the UK average rate of 5.6 per cent. Photograph: Gavan Donnelly

Union leaders worried about future of 140 roles at Maydown engineering plant

Greentown Environmental specialises in the treatment and eradication of invasive and potentially noxious weeds and currently treats 27,000km of footpaths. Photograph: Jack McManus

Award-winning entrepreneur John Ross Armstrong builds thriving weed-control business

A group of Strabane farmers turned up at their local Asda store and cleared all the milk supply off the shelves after the supermarket advertised its own brand milk at 45 pence per pint. Photograph: Getty Images

At current prices, many farmers are actually losing money on each litre of milk they sell

Belfast International Airport’s managing director said United’s decision was a positive development for the local economy. Photograph: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Belfast International Airport director welcomes resumption of full-year service ‘lifeline’ for US firms

Northern Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise Jonathan Bell hailed Decora Blind Systems, which is creating 80 jobs in Antrim, as a “dynamic, innovative business”. Photograph: Aaron McCracken/Harrisons/PA

Family owned business currently employs 500 across sites in Lisburn and Birmingham

The Danske Bank study reveals that the lowest levels of consumer confidence were displayed in Carrickfergus and Antrim

New survey shows confidence has fallen right across North

The North’s Finance Minister Arlene Foster has welcomed the decision by Teleperformance to operate the Enniskillen contact centre. Photo: PA Wire

French owned Teleperformance to manage and operate Liberty Mutual’s contact centre

Minister for Enterprise Jonathan Bell says it is “vital”  the North has control over corporation tax. Photograph: Aaron McCracken/Harrisons/PA

Political leaders have let opportunity to grasp tax devolution slip further through their fingers

British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers feels deal is issue for NI Executive

Dairy cows in a row

Poor returns to farmers in ultra-competitive market leads Ballyrashane and Town of Monaghan to form LacPatrick

The ink is dry at last on the rumoured £8 million deal for Northern Ireland’s only five-star golf resort

Fermanagh-born businessman spent 10 years developing the property

 Frank Cushnahan was involved in a deal that helped to establish Belfast’s highly successful Titanic Quarter. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Former member of Nama advisory committee helped shape life in NI, for better or worse

Ian Coulter former managing partner at Tughans law firm in Belfast. Tughans has rejected claims by Mr Coulter concerning a bank account which contained £7.5 million.

Ian Coulter says he personally informed law firm about account which contained £7.5m

Former managing partner at Tughans Law Firm, Belfast Ian Coulter: Said the money which “has been called into question” – and which he said was actually £7.5 million – “was part of the total legal and consultancy fees”.

Belfast lawyer Ian Coulter: No politician in NI or relatives was ‘ever to receive any monies’

Tughans offices in Belfast city centre. Photograph: Justin Kernoghan/PhotopressBelfast.co.uk

HMRC says its team is expected to recover nearly £18 million in Northern Ireland

Frank Cushnahan: moved from one key private sector appointment to another across a wide spectrum of industries

Businessman is one of the figures at the heart of revelations around the sale of Nama portfolio in North

Business in Northern Ireland broadly welcome UK chancellor George Osborne’s budget.

Employers broadly positive on other aspects of fiscal plan

Demonstrators outside the House of Commons as UK chancellor George Osborne set out his plans to reshape the country’s economy with the first budget of the new Conservative government on Wednesday. Photograph: Paul Hackett/Reuters

Cost of block grant to be reduced by £300m annually, government estimates

Nama sold €5.6 billion worth of loans against northern Irish properties to Cerberus for €1.7 billion in June 2014. The US fund hired US lawyers Brown and Rudnick, along with  Northern Irish firm Tughans, as advisers. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Agency ‘very confident . . . we achieved the maximum value for the Irish taxpayer’

Mick Wallace TD outside Leinster House on Kildare Street, Dublin, July 7th, 2015. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

PSNI says no formal criminal inquiry under way in relation to Mick Wallace’s allegations

 Alban Maginness: says it is important that Northern Ireland’s integrity as a place to do business is not undermined by any further revelations from the sale of Nama’s loan portfolio

Alban Maginness calls for full disclosure about transaction process

Lanyon Plaza, one of the larger assets in the portfolio

Nama's activity in the North has been plagued by questions

The quality of higher education in Derry was a factor in the investment decision

OneSource Virtual plans a human resources outsourcing operation in its first European investment

The Brazilian Cisne Branco (white swan), one of the 50 tall ships taking part in the 2015 tall ships race, docked in Belfast harbour.  Photograph: PA

All of the ships will be berthed around Belfast Harbour and the Titanic Quarter

Europa Hotel in Belfast,

Growing confidence in Northern Ireland when it comes to tourism and hospitality sectors

Virgin said initial response to the Belfast-Orlando summer route had been very positive. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Airline plans to run route again in 2016 after strong demand for the service

NI enterprise minister Jonathan Bell

Minister calls for government and business to work together

NI Finance Minister  Arlene Foster.  Her first budget has cross-party support.  Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Business leaders warn that it has not solved all financial challenges

Metaverse Mod Squad provides services to major corporations, government and not-for-profit organisations to engage with people on a personal level across mobile, ecommerce, in game, applications and other social medial channels.

Metaverse Mod Squad has clients in more than 50 countries

Jonathan Bell, Northern Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise, said the decision to expand its aerospace production facility represented a “step change” for the company

Investment backed by Invest NI with financial support worth £400,000

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness: political leaders are continuing to campaign to the UK Treasury for a reduction in air passenger taxes specifically from the North.

Improving connectivity seen as essential

Derry city. Choice Housing Association, which has been established following the merger of Trinity, Oaklee and Ulidia Housing Associations, currently has more than 10,000 homes on its books and a property portfolio valued at more than £700 million.

Investment programme of £340m to run over five years

Separate statistics also show there was a fall in the number of people claiming jobless-related benefits last month

Data reflects the challenges faced by region as youth unemployment remains a concern

Dr Norman Apsley  became chief executive of the Northern Ireland Science Park in 2000  and has helped shape the park into a thriving eco-system for start-ups, entrepreneurs and investors. Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker

The city’s Titanic Quarter is hosting MoneyConf and EnterConf for the first time

Almac Discovery, the Northern Ireland biopharmaceutical company, has agreed a drug development deal with Genentech which could be worth more than £225 million (€311 million).

Craigavon based company will initially receive an upfront payment of more than £9m

McGinnis Developments has re-financed its Cerberus controlled assets.

Original holding company will be able to participate in planned long-term development

Skunkworks Surfboard Company founders Ricky and Chris Martin have secured £100,000 in grants and established a surfboard manufacturing facility in Coleraine, Co Derry.

Chrish and Ricky Martin seek funding for Skunkworks Surfboard Company

Mayor of Antrim Clr Thomas Hogg; Alastair Hamilton, chief executive Invest NI; Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell and RLC director Sarah Holt at the RLC site in Newtownabbey.

Expansion part of £35m investment project

Sandra Corkin of Oasis Travel with Paul McMahon, president of Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce

Sandra Corkin is founder and owner of Oasis Travel, one of the North’s largest independent travel agents

Michelle O’Neill: says her department’s  relocation will be “a catalyst for change and regeneration stimulating much-needed job opportunities, not just in Ballykelly but across the northwest”

There has been a cynical response to plans to move the Department of Agriculture to a former army barracks in Ballykelly

Cybersecurity firm Titan IC Systems also won financial support from existing investor QUBIS,  the Queen’s University Belfast’s start-up company

Investment from techstart NI and Co-FundNI will be used to grow international sales

Wrights Group chief executive Mark Nodder (left): “Having a presence on the ground in the territory and a bus range design specifically for the Indian market, will help sustain employment for the current workforce of 130 Wrightbus International employees based at group headquarters  in Northern Ireland.”

Move will help sustain employment for its workforce in Northern Ireland, says group

Under the terms of the Stormont House Agreement the devolution of corporation tax powers is inextricably linked to new welfare changes in the North. Photograph: Eric Luke

Business group Grow NI says delay in fixing corporation tax rates deterring investment

Royal County Down golf club. More than 80,000 golf fans will gathering to see some of the world’s top golfers compete. Photograph: INPHO/Presseye/Matt Mackey

New golf strategy in North aims to grow value of golf tourism to £50 million a year by 2020

Stephen McCully, vice-president of NI Chamber; John Haran, managing director of HMC Global and Kevin Kingston, president of NI Chamber at the launch of ‘Growing Something Brilliant: An Action Plan to Grow the Northern Ireland Economy’ in Belfast.

Northern Ireland Chamber publishes action plan to get economy moving

Hospitality Ulster was launched by First Minister  of Northern Peter Robinson.

Hospitality Ulster launched to represent pubs, hotels and restaurants

Harland and Wolff’s drawing offices: it is expected that up to 250 jobs could be generated during the conversion  75 once the hotel opens for business. Photograph: Peter MacDiarmid/Getty

Historic building to be converted into four-star boutique hotel in titanic makeover

Brian Ambrose, chief executive of Belfast City Airport. Photograph: PA

Local campaign group opposed to expansion plans on noise grounds

Chief executive of Argento Peter Boyle’s chain of jewellery stores stretches from Belfast’s main shopping district to  Dublin’s Grafton Street. Photograph: Eric Luke

Entrepreneur went from street trader to establishing a €24m-a-year jewellery firm

Brian Ambrose, chief executive of George Best Belfast City Airport: removal of the seat cap would allow airport to   “compete and actively pursue additional airlines”. Photograph: PA

Belfast City Airport wants to remove cap on seats it can sell

A record number of people from Northern Ireland chose to travel though Dublin Airport last year according to latest figures which show passenger numbers from the North soared to a high of 864,000.

Number of passengers from the North using Dublin airport to travel abroad rose by 52%

Bombardier is reducing its global workforce by 1,750 Photograph: Bloomberg

Canadian aerospace group cites economic and geopolitical conditions in plan for global cuts

The Parliament Buildings in the Stormont Estate in Belfast. The prosperity gap with the UK could be widening leading economists have warned. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA.

Number of unemployed rises by 6,000 in first quarter in contrast to UK fall

EventMAP, a Queen’s University Belfast spin out that has developed new technology to optimise timetabling and resource management within universities, is to create 10 jobs after securing £85,000 (€118,536) of financial support from Invest NI.

EventMAP, which optimises timetabling and resource management within universities, secures financial support of £85,000

Kingspan ESB has launched a scheme that will give customers an option to sign up to a roof top photovoltaic (PV) soalr energy product that the joint venture says will produce cheaper, renewable energy without the investment normally required for such a system.

Project says it could deliver £320m in savings

Prof Robert Bowman: “Our technology could be used in any analytical environment from medicine to food security to gas detection. It’s very exciting because we’ve got a unique product that we one day want to become a globally recognised product that has been made in Belfast.”

Causeway Sensors has developed pioneering technology using nano-structured surfaces

British prime minister David Cameron wants to ensure  the economic recovery “reaches all parts” of the UK. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

British prime minister to ‘stay true to his word’

Peter Robinson, leader of the DUP: it has declared itself to be a “low-tax party”. Photograph: Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press

There is plenty of talk about economic growth, but not many ideas of how to fund it

Gráinne Hampton of McColgan’s with Stormont enterprise minister Arlene Foster.

New packing and dispatch facility to help grow Strabane-based family business

Conference should attract more than 1,200 delegates to Belfast

Potential economic benefits could be worth £1.3m, says minister

Sandara Kelso-Robb, strategic adviser of Giving Northern Ireland, and Dr Gareth McGrath, director of Politics Plus, greet Prof Angela Eikenberry, Fulbright scholar at the University of Birmingham, who gave a special lecture on the meaning and impact of philanthropy at Parliament Buildings as part of Philanthropy Fortnight. Photograph: Paul Moane / Aurora

More people want to work for organisations ‘where they can make an impact on causes they care about’

The Cast and Crew restaurant across from the Titanic Belfast centre marks the first restaurant development of its kind in the Titanic Quarter

Niall McKenna is to open two new restaurants and create 55 jobs

Prof Alastair Adair, Ulster University acting vice-chancellor, said the new campus will act as an important social and economic regenerator for the area

Surveyors report a decline in infrastructure workloads in North

The Titanic Belfast Experience: while recovery is under way, the business environment remains challenging and the outlook for long-term growth is far from confident, the survey found. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Rise in domestic orders and positive job plans cited in Quarterly Economic Survey

The  North’s Minister for Enterprise Arlene Foster: “Axiom is investing in a major expansion creating 97 new jobs, which will bring valuable skills to the important legal services sector here.”  Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Legal services firm to create positions as part of £9m investment

Three of the Four Tall Ships which Sailed into Dublin last year.  This year the race will travel to Belfast where it will be the largest event to be staged in the city to date. Photograph: Alan Betson /The Irish Times.

Largest event to be staged in the city to date and could attract 500,000 spectators

Queen’s spin-out launches ‘transformative’ product to protect networks from viruses

“There is no industry or business, large or small that is going to be left untouched by big data challenges”

Analytics Engines working on next generation of medical analytics technology

 Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Arlene Foster said lack of office development may be due to constraints on bank lending. Picture Conor McCabe.

Prime rents in Belfast went up 12% in 2014 – the largest UK increase outside the southeast of England – but little new office spa(...)

North’s enterprise minister Arlene Foster   said   the latest figures still portray “a more positive picture than a year ago”. Photograph: Eric Luke /Irish Times

Latest set of official data show total claimant count fell to 45,200

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