The Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brendan Smith TD has reacted to the comments made by the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster MLA regarding the Irish Government’s trade policies and activities.
“While, of course, we need to be aware that the First Minister was speaking to her political base, it is absolutely incorrect for her to suggest that the Irish Government talks down the Northern Irish economy, and that Ireland seeks to poach investors away from Northern Ireland.”
“No Irish Government, irrespective of who is in office, talks down the Northern Irish economy. In fact, the opposite happens,” said the Cavan Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD.
“When I was Minister for Agriculture and Food, every opportunity to speak about the all-island economy was taken, and to attract investors to the island.”
“For years, I have called for greater and deeper cooperation between the industrial development agencies in both jurisdictions to promote all-island economic development.”
“I would hope that the First Minister would join with all of us who want increased cooperation to maximise foreign investment on the island, and especially in the border region.”
“A single all-Ireland industrial promotion agency would have huge benefits for the entire island. We need to build further to realise the full potential of the Good Friday Agreement. The First Minister can show leadership on this matter, and work with the Irish Government to make this a reality. I hope she takes the opportunity,” concluded Smith.