11 November 2014

Question Time Enterprise, Trade and Investment 10 November 2014



The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment was asked about Wild Atlantic Way Coast Route by Cathal OhOisin, Patsy McGlone and Claire Sugden and asked the Minister for her assessment of the tourism opportunities presented by the establishment for this route.

Arlene Foster said she had been in contact with Tourism Ireland, the north-south tourism promotion body, to ask that in future the Causeway Coast and Glens and the Wild Atlantic Way be treated equally.

She said that she was disappointed in the way that the Wild Atlantic Way stopped at the border.

Questions about Invest NI was next on the agenda for the Minister and she was asked by Jo-Anna Dobson to outline the total financial support for investment announcements made by Invest NI in this financial year.

The Ministed stated that "in the first six months of this financial year, Invest Northern Ireland offered a total of £126 million across its full range of services, including investment announcements. I am pleased to advise that Invest NI will be presenting full details of its mid-year performance review to the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee tomorrow - 11 November."

Karen McKevitt and Michelle McIlveen both asked the Minister for her assessment of the impact the cuts to the tourism event fund would have on the economy. The Minister replied with "pending clarification of the Budget position in 2015-16, the Tourist Board announced the suspension of the application process for events for next year. That was a prudent step, given the present very difficult financial situation. In light of the draft Budget allocations that have now been announced, the Department is engaging with all its arm's-length bodies on the savings that will need to be made. The position regarding support for events going forward is being assessed as part of that work. Nevertheless, I can confirm that nine international events that received three-year funding letters of offer for 2014-15 through to 2016-17 will continue to be supported, as well as the Tall Ships and the Irish Open in 2015.

During the 15 minute period of Topical Question to the Minister she had to answer questions on Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan, Investment in West Belfast, Economic Development Agencies and Fuel Poverty - Crude Oil Prices.

View all question to the Minister here.