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Harland & Wolff targeted by two bidders aiming to save shipyard

Harland & Wolff went into administration earlier this month. Picture by Mal McCann

HARLAND & Wolff could be saved after two valid bids were submitted to the shipyard's administrator.

Both bidders aim to buy the yard, best known for building the Titanic, as a going concern.

The DUP's East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson announced the bids yesterday after he and party leader Arlene Foster met administrators BDO.

The accountancy firm took control of the shipyard after it went into administration earlier this month.

It announced last week it would continue a temporary unpaid lay-off of the 120-strong workforce to help ongoing discussions with prospective buyers.

Workers are continuing to occupy the site and have insisted they will remain until the future of the yard is secured.

Mr Robinson described the meeting as "very positive".

"It was encouraging to hear that there are two valid and credible bids," he said.

"These bidders recognised the skill of the workers employed by Harland & Wolff and this will be welcome news for those employees."

The yard's administrator will now assess each bid to see which one will provide the best future for the iconic shipyard.

Meanwhile, John Barry, Professor of Green Political Economy at Queen's University Belfast, yesterday wrote an open letter backing trade unions' calls for the yard to be nationalised.

He said the shipyard, which in last decade has mainly helped build green energy projects including offshore wind turbines, should be expanded to help meet targets on reducing climate change.

"If we need a 'wartime mobilisation' to deliver the urgency and scale of the energy transition for climate targets, then nationalisation is a perfectly appropriate course of action," he said.

"This is a what a 'just transition' looks like, determined action by the state to ensure that in moving from fossil fuels to renewables, no community is left behind or that working families bear an unfair burden.

"The struggle at Harland & Wolff shows that while the transition to a low carbon future is inevitable, justice is not.

"By supporting the workers we can deliver justice for them as well as fulfilling our obligations to justice for those yet born."

Trade Unions have planned a further rally at the gates of the yard at 12.30pm on Friday.

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