Lord Mayor meets to resolve H&W crisis

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Jim Rodgers, has met with the Minister for Regional Development Peter Robinson to discuss the future of troubled shipyard Harland and Wolff.

At the end of March Harland and Wolff announced they were shedding almost 150 of its employees in a bid to preserve the firm's future. They also submitted a business plan to DETI minister Sir Reg Empey and Mr Robinson which outlined plans to dispose of a section of the company’s land in the lucrative Titanic quarter. The shipyard hopes that by selling the lease on the land, enough capitol would be generated to ensure the shipyard’s future in Belfast.

However, because the land is publicly owned, the Minister for Regional Development, Peter Robinson, would have to approve changing the terms of the lease of the land held by the yard to enable them to market it for purposes other than shipbuilding.

The Mayor, accompanied by the Deputy Lord Mayor Hugh Smyth, and High Sheriff Wallace Browne, met Mr Robinson in Belfast City Hall on Thursday April 4 to discuss possible solutions to the deepening financial crisis.

A spokesman for Belfast City council said: “The City's civic leaders will be pressing the Minister specifically on the need to agree to the request from Harland and Wolff to release surplus land at Queen’s Island.”

Thursday’s meeting with Mr Robinson follows a series of meetings last week between the three politicians and senior management and shop stewards from Harland and Wolff.

The Lord Mayor, Deputy Lord Mayor and High Sheriff also are seeking a meeting with Sir Reg Empey, to discuss the current situation at the shipyard.


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