Northern Ireland news

State papers: Ardoyne priest's idea won US political support

Former New York Governor Hugh Carey
Éamon Phoenix

A NORTH Belfast priest's "ideas factory" project for job creation received support from New York governor Hugh Carey.

Fr Miles Kavanagh's Novatech Project was outlined by Stormont official David Fell in a 1989 memo to head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service Sir Ken Bloomfield.

"The concept is one of an 'ideas factory' ... aimed at generating viable, high-quality businesses with significant export-led growth potential," he said.

The "raw material", Fell explained, "would be groups of bright young people", preferably graduates who would form venture teams.

Fell said he was impressed with the project by the Passionist priest from Ardoyne.

He said Stormont "should be willing to take some risks" with public funds as in Aardoyne "we need to back committed people who have credibility and imaginative business ideas for breaking the cycle of violence".

The project received high-level support in September 1989 from Hugh Carey, former governor of New York.

In a reply to Governor Carey in October 1989, industry minister Richard Needham thanked him for his interest and said that discussions with Fr Kavanagh were ongoing.

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