13/01/2004

NI Economic Research Institute swings into operation

The new Economic Research Institute will play an important role in contributing to economic debate and understanding in Northern Ireland and in the development of the local economy", according to Ian Pearson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State.

Mr Pearson comments marked the merger of the Northern Ireland Economic Council (NIEC) and the Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre (NIERC) into the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland (ERINI).

Paying tribute to the work of the two bodies, the Minister said: "I welcome the merger of these two organisations to create a single new research institute. ERINI is starting from a strong base and is therefore well positioned to build on the existing strengths and expertise of these organisations.

"It will play an important role in providing independent economic research, analyses and advice aimed at challenging and developing policy-making and strategic thinking in Northern Ireland. I wish ERINI every success in this important work."

The merger follows a decision reached by the Northern Ireland Executive to develop the supply of economic advice and research by setting up a new research body, combining the roles of the Northern Ireland Economic Council and the Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre.

The appointment of the 15-member board of ERINI chaired by Professor John Beath was announced in October last year.

The board includes representatives drawn from academic, business, and trade union sectors.

(SP)

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