FIRST Minister Peter Robinson has voiced his confidence that Larne will recover from the recent FG Wilson job loss crisis.
Speaking after he officially opened a new rural conference centre at LEDCOM, Willowbank, Mr Robinson told the Larne Times that “his knowledge of Larne is that the people will bounce back”.
“The job loss at FG Wilson has been a masssive blow. People have worked their for a long period of time and families depend on that work. It has been devastating for them and it will be a very difficult period,” he said.
However, the First Minister said that it is vital that the skills Larne is renowned for are not lost.
“Arlene Foster went to meet the directors of Caterpillar in the US and we are looking towards seeing if we can encourage them to bring some part of their business to Larne to try to get back to previous levels,
“As an Executive, we will work with the company as they move forward, but they are a private sector company and they will make decisions that are best for them and their shareholders,” he said.
Mr Robinson praised the work carried out at LEDCOM.
“The opening of this new state of the art conference facility marks another high water mark for LEDCOM and the Willowbank Business Park. It also re-enforces the reputation of Larne and the wider East Antrim constituency as an area where the people are determined to do business and where a ‘can-do’ ethic prevails.
“LEDCOM has had an impressive record of innovation and growth in its history and in 2012 is acknowledged as being at the forefront of social enterprise right across Northern Ireland. I must therefore commend all those who have been involved with the organisation over the years for their unstinting support for the district of East Antrim in general and Larne in particular.
“As we have said for some time now, small and medium sized enterprises are the foundation of the Northern Ireland economy. This is illustrated by the fact that Larne has around 1,135 small firms with fewer than 50 employees and 10 companies with over 250 employees. It is incumbent upon those in Government that we focus on growing the private sector,” he said.