At least 30 new inward investment opportunities identified since implementation of protocol

Economy Minister Diane Dodds.
Ryan McAleer

MORE than 30 new potential inward investors have been identified by Invest NI as part of efforts to promote the north’s dual market access since the implementation of the new Irish protocol.

The figure was confirmed by the economy minister Diane Dodds in a written response to the chair of the economy committee Caoimhe Archibald.

Ms Dodds, who is expected to be reshuffled out of the executive next week, has been criticized for failing to acknowledge the potential advantages of the protocol in making Northern Ireland more attractive for new investors.

The minister last week published a 12,000 economic text outlining her long-term vision for the economy that made no reference to the protocol.

Despite the minister highlighting her concerns over the impact of the post-Brexit arrangements on some businesses, Invest NI has continued to actively promote the north’s “dual market access” to investors since the end of the transition period.

Invest NI’s website describes the new post-Brexit arrangements as “a unique proposition for manufacturers based in Northern Ireland as well as those seeking a pivotal location from which to service GB and EU markets”.

In her written response to the committee chair, Diane Dodds acknowledged: “Since the end of the transition period, Invest NI has identified over 30 new potential inward investment opportunities which are currently at an early stage of exploration, and are commercially sensitive.”

It comes after the head of Manufacturing NI, Stephen Kelly, told The Irish News of a number of significant early stage manufacturing projects looking to invest in Northern Ireland.

“In seven-and-a-half years in this job I have never encountered such a level of interest in Northern Ireland as an investment location for manufacturing,” he said.

“Whilst these are projects still at an early stage, if we iron out the issues with the protocol and land even a fair chunk of them then they would be transformative.”

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