Political failure means Northern Ireland risks missing out on Heathrow hubs investment

Jackie Pollock for distributionHeathrow long-list of 65 locations, includes six in Northern Ireland, for off-site hub as part of £16 billion airport development project

Scottish government has secured hub site for Scotland to create 16,000 jobs – Northern Ireland must get its fair share of investment

March 27th: Unite Regional Secretary was highly critical of the political failure that was disadvantaging Northern Ireland when it came to the competition for off-site construction associated with the new Heathrow airport:

“The development of a new runway at Heathrow is one of the major civil engineering projects planned for the next decade. Given that plans are for much of the work involved to be off-site at locations around the UK, it is vital that Northern Ireland secure its fair share of this £16 billion project.

“Heathrow airport authorities have published a long list of sixty five locations where this work could happen. Six of these on the long list are in Northern Ireland – including the former Michelin site. It is vital that we secure one of the off-site construction hubs for Northern Ireland.

“The Scottish government has already negotiated a memorandum of understanding from Heathrow guaranteeing them one of the off-site hubs. As a result they estimate 16,000 new jobs will be created creating a £200 million stimulus for the economy of Scotland.

“Northern Ireland desperately needs that level of job creation and there is a strong case to locate this work here to help redress the recent spate of industrial jobs losses and closures. Unfortunately, while Scotland has a government proactively seeking such investment – Northern Ireland is left without any representation at all due to political failure.

“Heathrow representatives have already started their tour of the sites on the long-list at a time when we still don’t have a functioning Executive or Ministers to promote Northern Ireland.

“Despite this our workers are dedicated and possess the engineering and technical skills base needed to do this high-value added work. There is no reason one of these off-site construction hubs shouldn’t be located here. In the absence of Ministers, Unite is committed to secure our fair share of these jobs”, Mr Pollock said.

Note for editors: Northern Ireland sites on the long-list are North Foreshore, Silverwood Business Park, Belfast International Airport, Global Point Business Park, Michelin Tyre site and Shackleton Barracks.

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