Island hopes to forge closer links with Northern Ireland

Arlene Foster and Laurence Skelly

Arlene Foster and Laurence Skelly

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The Manx government is hoping to forge closer links with Northern Ireland.

The Department of Economic Development has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland.

According to a press statement from the DED, the memorandum aims to ‘foster and strengthen future co-operation between the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland around economic matters such as trade, technology, investment, financial and professional services and tourism.’

Northern Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Arlene Foster MLA, was in the Isle of Man recently to sign the MOU alongside the Isle of Man’s Minister for Economic Development Laurence Skelly MHK.

Mr Skelly said: ‘The Isle of Man Government is committed to developing business opportunities with the UK regions, particularly major centres in the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

‘This Memorandum of Understanding represents a welcome step forward in that regard.

‘It enables us to continue to build on the existing business relationships and close tourism and cultural links that we enjoy with our near neighbour and reflects the willingness of both parties to work together to develop mutually beneficial opportunities to improve trade and services between us.’

Minister Foster’s visit also took in a number of official meetings in the island including with Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK, a guided tour of the Tynwald Chamber from President of Tynwald Clare Christian MLC and a short tour of the island.

Mrs Foster, who’s a member of the Democratic Unionist Party, said: ‘The Isle of Man is one of Northern Ireland’s closest neighbours and has been a popular holiday destination for many years.

‘The tourism industry, as well as the technology and financial services sectors, are important for both our economies and this Memorandum of Understanding will help to strengthen the trade and business links in these key areas.

‘The promotional slogan “Isle of Man, where you can”, reflects the “can-do” attitude that we apply in Northern Ireland when it comes to encouraging investment and staging world class events. The MOU between my department and its counterpart on the Isle of Man marks an important step towards building a closer relationship that will bring tangible benefits to both regions.’

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