Invest Northern Ireland has responded to the statement by Adria that it is undertaking a review of its operations in Strabane which will lead to a number of redundancies.
Speaking today at a public consultation on Invest Northern Ireland’s 2005-08 Corporate Plan in Omagh, Leslie Morrison, Invest Northern Ireland chief executive, said:
“Until the company has completed its review and finalised numbers of redundancies, it would be inappropriate and unhelpful to speculate further. However, we are encouraged by the company’s reaffirmation of its confidence in the long term future of its Strabane operations and the intention to develop it as a centre of excellence.
For those who unfortunately will be made redundant, I can confirm that Invest NI will continue to work closely with Dept of Employment and Learning and other bodies in a fully co-ordinated drive to help those affected find other employment opportunities.
“Today’s announcement by Adria is further evidence that textile companies must focus on innovation through developing new products, introducing the latest technology and systems, improving marketing and finding new markets, training staff etc. Over the last four years, Invest NI has invested some £23M in the sector in order to place companies in a stronger position to face the pressures from lower cost countries.
“We are addressing these pressures by concerted action to transform the North West into a technology-led and more robust economy in line with our draft Corporate Plan strategy which focuses on promoting higher levels of innovation, enterprise and international sales. This means assisting companies to invest in the experience and know how that enables them to develop higher added value products and or services for customers, especially in markets outside Northern Ireland.
“To drive this agenda forward, we developed the North West Action plan, an important initiative which has been endorsed by local business leaders and other organisations. We all share a vision for the North West as a modern and vibrant economy that offers good quality employment opportunities for people here.
“Tangible benefits are already apparent. Substantial high tech investment for Strabane and Londonderry has been secured from international companies such as Northbrook Technology, which is performing above initial expectations.
“Almost £40 million in inward investment for the North West was negotiated between April and December last year. Some 71 established companies have received Invest NI assistance for expansion projects totalling £11 million.
“Other technology companies, including HML, Stream International, Raytheon and Censys, are expanding strongly. Over 200 local companies are now being assisted by Invest NI to expand business by harnessing broadband telecommunications. Singularity, a Derry software developer was also recently described as a visionary company by a leading US technology consultancy.
”Around 40 knowledge-based projects that include new products, environmental technology and commercial research are being supported by Invest NI and involve a total investment in excess of £2 million.
“As a result, a new economy is developing steadily in the North West, based on the skills of the workforce and the drive of entrepreneurial management, and will gather momentum over the next few years.”