Councils fly the flag for investment in London

At the MIPIM UK investment and property conference in London are (from left) Leigh Meyer from Citi, Dr Theresa Donaldson, chief executive of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, and Roger Wilson, chief executive of Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council. Photo: Kelvin Boyes (Press Eye)

THE benefits of investing in Northern Ireland have been outlined to global investors attending the UK's largest property and investment exhibition in London.

And pumping money into the region was endorsed by financial services giant Citi, which has a major back office operation in the Belfast's Titanic Quarter employing around 1,500 people.

Citi's regional managing director Leigh Meyer joined economists and senior officials from Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council at a panel discussion at MIPIM UK under the theme: “Why Northern Ireland, Why Now and Where to Invest?”.

He said: “The investment Citi has made in Northern Ireland to date demonstrates our commitment to the region. Our operations here are an integral and value added part of our global business models, some of which are centred in our Belfast offices.

"The ability to tap into the graduate programmes at universities, the rich pool of talent across the wider population, proximity to our key markets and strong relationships with key stakeholders have been contributing factors to our success."

He added: “Citi is just one of many success stories and I encourage any developers or businesses considering relocation or establishing a new base to look seriously at Northern Ireland and discover the benefits it can bring to your business.”

The collective strengths of Northern Ireland was the focus of the first day at MIPIM UK at the Olympia, with the Department for International Trade/Invest NI launching the NI Portfolio showcasing £1.3 billion of investment schemes.

Lisburn Council's development committee chair Allan Ewart said: “We are delighted to work in partnership with our neighbouring council to promote Northern Ireland as a desirable investment region as well as specifically focusing on own area and unique proposition.

“Given the key strategic location of Lisburn Castlereagh, there are significant opportunities to attract a wide range of major employment particularly at West Lisburn/Blaris and Purdysburn/Knockbracken.

"MIPIM UK is a fantastic platform to showcase the abundant land mass we have available for developing (264 hectares of land zoned for employment) and we firmly believe it is time to ‘Make the Move' to Lisburn Castlereagh.”

Sam Nicholson, deputy lord mayor of ABC council, added: “Partnerships and collaboration are key to helping Northern Ireland realise its full investment potential – not only between the public and private sectors locally, but between neighbouring councils.

“We are already seeing considerable investment in the Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough across the advanced manufacturing, agri-food, retail and leisure sectors, but there is always room for more.

"We are using At MIPIM UK to promote the message that our borough is open for business and that we will do everything we can to make the investment journey as straightforward as possible.”

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