Irish American concern on west Belfast spending

Posted By: August 31, 2016

Gareth McKeown, Irish News (Belfast), Wednesday, August 31, 2016

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President of the Irish National Caucus Fr Sean McManus said west Belfast is at the “bottom of the economic ladder” and investment is required.

The Fermanagh-born president of the Washington-based Irish National Caucus has said the Invest NI spend in west Belfast is causing “deep concern” among Irish Americans.

Fr. Sean McManus, pictured, said an investment campaign, based upon the fair employment MacBride Principles published in 1984, was needed in the area after figures published in The Irish News revealed a significantly reduced spend and a disparity in the number of jobs created compared to the rest of the city.

In the past three years, £7.8 million has been spent on existing businesses in west Belfast by Invest NI, yet in south of the city, seven times that sum has been offered.

West Belfast has seen the fewest jobs created in the city by Invest NI in the past three years. Figure released earlier this year covering 2011-14 placed west Belfast at the bottom of all 18 constituencies in the north in terms of financial assistance and jobs promoted by Invest NI.

Fr. McManus said the figures showed west Belfast was at the “bottom of the economic ladder.”

“These released figures confirm the view that west Belfast is being punished and penalized for being republican,” he said.

Invest NI has said investment and job creation are “driven by business, not Invest NI.”