10/02/2011

Think-Tank Job Losses Slammed

An NI economic 'think-tank' set up to give advice on the economy is to be closed down next month.

Twelve staff are to lose their jobs at the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland (ERINI) when it closes.

It cost about £1m a year to run, but the Office of the First and the Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) is refusing to fund it any longer.

It said an independent review carried out more than a year ago concluded that the institute failed to fulfil its mandate and did not represent value for money.

SDLP Economy Spokesman Dr. Alasdair McDonnell MP has accused the OFMDFM of being 'penny wise and pound foolish' in their decision to put the independent Economic Research Institute out of business.

"Never has there been a more critical time when the Northern Ireland Executive needed to have a professional independent economic research body advising it going forward," he fumed.

"The ERINI could and should be refined and improved in terms of the service it provides but to put it totally out of business at this critical economic juncture to save a few pennies in the short term may well prove foolish in the longer term," he said.

(BMcC)

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