Harland & Wolff central to NI’s defence sector

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has said it is important there is certainty offered to Harland and Wolff from the Government to help ensure its huge potential is realised for Belfast and for Northern Ireland as a whole.

By Carla Lockhart Candidate

Upper Bann

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The DUP MP made the comments to James Cartlidge MP, the Minister for Defence Procurement during a meeting of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee today which is holding an inquiry into defence spending in Northern Ireland. The Committee visited Harland & Wolff earlier in the week as part of the inquiry.

The DUP MP said, “Harland & Wolff is of importance not just to Belfast, but to wider Northern Ireland. There has been some inaccurate commentary recently about its future and it is important there is certainty offered quickly from Government.

Harland & Wolff forms part of the wider defence sector that has huge potential for further growth. When we visited the site that potential was very visible and there is a sense of excitement about what the future could bring for the company.

The Committee inquiry was prompted largely by work carried out by Gavin Robinson and he has continued to engage extensively with both the shipyard and the wider defence and aerospace sector.

The Government has accepted that there are untapped resources available to the defence industry in Northern Ireland. They have also committed to a review that will look to increase public and commercial awareness of the sector as well as developing proposals to ensure Northern Ireland is benefitting from investment in defence industries in the same way as the rest of the country.

It is important that we see movement on those commitments quickly as the defence sector can provide further significant benefits to the Northern Ireland economy. This was an issue that our colleagues in the Northern Ireland Assembly also raised this week and we will continue to ensure is kept as a priority.”

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