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Important Government provides financial support to Harland and Wolff, says Farry

It is important the Government provides financial support to Harland and Wolff to provide time for a sustainable solution to be found at the shipyard, Alliance Economy spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said.

Dr Farry was speaking after attending a trade union rally at the East Belfast facility today. He said the financial support for the yard would be relatively small, but allow the company to secure new investment.

“Harland and Wolff is an iconic part of Northern Ireland, with not just a proud history but potentially a viable future. Its workers are part of a strong skills base that can be a platform for further manufacturing development and the wider knock-on benefits to the local economy.

“Alliance representatives have been in discussions with Harland and Wolff management and different parts of Government in the search for a way forward. Every effort needs to be made to buy some time to allow the company to secure new investment and to remain competitive for future opportunities. We want to see the local skills base protected and the success of the company built upon.

“A short-term support of less than £1 million can buy some time for other avenues to be properly explored. Political level decisions need to be taken. It would have been preferable if a Northern Ireland Executive was in place but without it, we need to look to the UK Government.

“There is more at stake here than a solely commercial consideration. Harland and Wolff has played a huge role in placing Northern Ireland on the international map. The implications for its closure could have much wider repercussions in calling into question Northern Ireland’s economic image.”