Is Invest NI just whistling past the graveyard?

Is Invest NI just whistling past the graveyard?

Invest NI appears to be missing the point in this rather defensive article in the Huffington Post which it has published as a counter to what it says are pundits “pedalling” (sic) an image of a Northern Ireland on the brink of economic calamity.

It then describes a Northern Ireland as having evolved dramatically with increasing exports, boosted by a fall in sterling, increasing Foreign Direct Investment and a growing role in the knowledge economy.  All positive.

But by accentuating just the positive it is ignoring some hefty evidence about the potential impact of Brexit.  Among those it ignores are the House of Lords, which warns, that of all the nations and regions of the UK, the economic implications of Brexit are greatest for Northern Ireland because of its reliance on EU funding, cross border trade and economic cooperation with the Republic.

It also ignores the Institute of Directors which says that NI will be the litmus test for Brexit. The IoD report says it is critical that indigenous and FDI firms retain their competitiveness and do not incur unnecessary additional costs or barriers adding “the more impediments to doing business the less business will be done.”

Invest NI refers to the positive elements of this economic report but ignores the warnings in it of the challenges ahead and the danger of the Northern Ireland economy stagnating in 2017.

Indeed Invest NI’s website celebrates NI success in the Creative Industries but ignores this report which points up major challenges for the industry as a result of upcoming Brexit negotiations.

The Invest NI article concludes “we acknowledge what happens in the coming months and years remains to be seen.” But that does not point to a strategy and will not inspire confidence in those the organisation seeks to influence in the article which the Huffington Post publishes unchallenged.