28/02/2003

Ulster Unionist delegation to meet H&W representatives

A Unionist delegation has met today with Harland & Wolff representatives today to explore ways to attract further business to the ailing yard.

Former Economy Minister Sir Reg Empey and party MPs David Burnside and Jeffrey Donaldson offered their help to the company in lobbying for shipbuilding contracts from the Ministry of Defence (MoD). They also sought reassurances from the management that the company was actively pursuing such work.

With two aircraft carriers already placed by the MoD, Mr Donaldson said the Belfast yard was one of only two in the UK capable of putting them together.

Management at the yard are to discuss plans for Mr Burnside and Mr Donaldson to lobby the Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Group at Westminster.

Harland and Wolff has already said it was pursuing future business opportunities on a number of fronts in order to create a competitive company with a sustainable future.

The shipyard said it would focus on "an expansion of its technical consultancy services" which would encompass the marine, offshore and structural engineering sectors.

(MB)

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