As a new Northern Ireland government gears up to receive its powers from Britain, business leaders are predicting a new wave of growth and investment in the province.

Across the province’s capital Belfast, the construction industry is already busy with major property developments.

The business community in Northern Ireland is looking forward to a prosperous future now that the transfer of powers from the British government is about to become reality.

Constitutional change had been on hold as the dispute between rival parties over
Irish Republican Army (I-R-A) disarmament held up the formation of a Cabinet for the province.

That 12-member Cabinet was formed on Monday after Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble dropped his Protestant party’s demand for I-R-A disarmament in advance.

Visiting a newly-opened Information Technology (I-T) company, a member of the new Cabinet and Minister for Enterprise, Sir Reg Empey said the prospect of lasting peace could attract many more contracts from abroad to the province.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
“The new administration gives us a marketing tool, because we’ll be sending a message out to the world that something is really changing here, there’s new developments, there’s potential for stability and I think that will also be a useful exercise.”
SUPER CAPTION: Sir Reg Empey, Northern Ireland Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment

SOUNDBITE: (English)
“I think business will look upon that very positively. I think we will develop a number of very creative ways of making a the very best use of what should now be a very much more stable period.”
SUPER CAPTION: Chris Buckland, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Small Business Development

I-T is one of Northern Ireland’s fastest growing sectors.

Engineering, electronics, textiles and food are also big industries and each has aspirations of further growth.

Northern Ireland’s economy, especially the tourism sector, has been growing steadily for 2 to 3 years.

American and Canadian companies have invested in a spread of industries, as the prospect of peace could be just around the corner.

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