06/12/2007

Paisley Wants US Support For Ulster 'Rally'

Ahead of tomorrow's planned meeting with US President, George Bush, Northern Ireland's First and Deputy First Ministers are now meeting congressmen and senators as they continue their high profile investment drive in the US – and are urging support for an Ulster 'rally'.

Inward economic development remains the big item throughout, and one constantly referred to, with one example being the economic conference - or rally - to take place next year.

Dr Paisley said yesterday: "I invite you all to come to Northern Ireland in May of this incoming year. We will not have a May Day rally, but we will have a rally to put Ulster on the map."

The theme is to be developed further today, as Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness are hosted as the guests of honour at a special lunch at Capitol Hill in Washington with Senator Ted Kennedy and Congressman Richard Neal among the politicians greeting the pair.

This follows earlier successes during the visit. On Wednesday, Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness switched on the Nasdaq electronic stock market in New York's Times Square and on Tuesday, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness were pictured holding a gavel on a podium overseeing the New York Stock Exchange trading floor, pretending to signal that trading could be begin.

That event - an hour before trading started - was just for cameras, while yesterday was closer to the real thing, as they rang the opening bell at Nasdaq, signalling that trading could indeed commence.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday Mr Paisley met with billionaire, Donald Trump to make Northern Ireland's 'sales pitch' to steal the entrepreneur's planned £1bn golf complex, which was rejected by Aberdeenshire Council last week.

Mr Paisley sensed the opportunity, and tried lure Trump away from Scotland to Co Antrim. "I think we are in with a chance," Mr Paisley said. "He showed a real interest in Northern Ireland. He's a man of great wealth, of course, and he has a great opportunity to help us."

(BMcC)

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