Bombardier ‘pressure’ on DUP over May’s Brexit deal

One of Northern Ireland’s most important businesses has apparently weighed into the Brexit debate, as Bombardier is claimed to have lobbied the DUP over its objections to Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft exit plan.

Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 10:58 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 12:15 pm

The business, which lies in a critiical area of DUP support, has as yet to confirm or denied a claim in the Finaincial Times that it has lobbied the party over its concerns regarding the backstop and the threat of a no deal departure on March 29.

Based in east Belfast, base for MP Gavin Robinson and location of the DUP’s HQ, the Canadian-owned business has said with the exception of some comments about potential cost and supply issues.

However, with just over three weeks until March 29 and the crucial vote on Mrs May’s plan less than a week away, the FT article reports that the incresasing threat of a no deal departure has prompted the firm to speak out.

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It employs around 4,000 people across four sites in the city, but is a critical factor in the existence of many more businesses and a vital export player.

“Bombardier are strategically important for Northern Ireland, not just in terms of their jobs but also that they account for approximately 10% of Northern Ireland exports and their supply chain, which stretches from the north-west to North Down,” Manufacturing NI chief executive Stephen Kelly said.

“The leadership of the company were clear before the referendum that Brexit would add significant cost and complexity to their business and whatever the outcome from the current negotiations it is critical that the UK negotiates to remove those costs and complexities and to ensure market access for firms just like Bombardier.”

The main factory developed and produces the high tech, composite wings for the Airbus 220 .

Formerly the Bombardier CSeries, the programme was taken over last year by the European plane maker took over the programme last year and has made clear its oncerns over Brexit.

So far this year Airbus CEO Tom Enders has dismissed the lack of information available to British firms “a disgrace, ” adding: “Make no mistake there are plenty of countries out there who would love to build the wings for Airbus aircraft”.