28/10/2008

Other NI News In Brief

Belfast 'Pipes Up'

Belfast is to host the prestigious European Pipe Band Championships for the next three years. The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has confirmed that Belfast City Council's bid to host the championships from 2010 through to 2012 has been successful. It is estimated that the competition will attract around 90 top class international pipe bands from all over the world, bringing with them more than 25,000 competitors and spectators, and generating more than £1.3 million for the Belfast economy each year. "We are delighted to have been successful in bringing this prestigious international competition to the city for the next three years, and we look forward to hosting a series of highly successful championships between now and 2012," commented Councillor Michael Browne, Chairman, Council Development Committee.

Official Bodies Must Pay Promptly
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A member of the Assembly's Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee, Robin Newton, the East Belfast DUP MLA, has called upon all the government departments and local councils to practice a policy of prompt payment of traders' invoices. This should always be the procedure but in today's challenging commercial climate it is even more important to adhere to this condition. Robin Newton said: "In the prevailing tricky economic climate one of the major reasons for small businesses going under is negative cash flow; it is not always having no customers that closes a company. Often it is not being paid on time for work done or delivery of goods and services that brings about business liquidity problems."

Farmers Innovate

Almost seventy practical and innovative projects involving Northern Ireland farmers have been completed since 1997 and a dozen final reports due within months. The upbeat message was part of the annual report of AgriSearch wwhich has just been delivered by the organisation's Chairman Billy Yarr. He said that £531,000 was committed this past year to nine new dairy, beef and sheep projects by AgriSearch, the Northern Ireland Research and Development Council, an increase from six projects the previous year despite levy rates remaining unchanged since 1997 when AgriSearch was formed to fill the void left by reduced government investment in research of practical benefit to farm businesses. He said that the 69 projects approved by AgriSearch Trustees over the past decade cost £12 million with around 30% of this coming from AgriSearch and the remainder from other funders such as DARD.

(BMcC)

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