East Londonderry MLA blasts quango over lack of investment

Adrian McQuillan said the Invest NI 'figures just don't stack up'
Adrian McQuillan said the Invest NI 'figures just don't stack up'

A DUP MLA has sharply criticised a Government quango which is overseen by a DUP minister and run by a former DUP special adviser.

East Londonderry MLA Adrian McQuillan spoke out against Invest NI after it was revealed that his area is at the bottom of the Province-wide investment table.

The Government investment quango is the responsibility of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, whose minister is the DUP’s Jonathan Bell.

And the chief executive of Invest NI, Alastair Hamilton, is a former special adviser to the DUP.

Mr Hamilton was one of Ian Paisley’s closest advisers when he became First Minister in 2007.

Mr McQuillan took issue with figures which show that Invest NI’s support secured around £10 million of investment in the Causeway Coast and Glens area, yet neighbouring Mid and East Antrim Borough Council secures more than treble that and Mid Ulster received £181 million of investment in the same period.

Mr McQuillan said: “These figures just don’t stack up; I’ve always been told that we don’t attract as much investment because of our population figures.

“But, looking at neighbouring council areas, that doesn’t hold water.”

Fellow DUP MLA Gregory Campbell, however, praised Invest NI, saying: “I am pleased that the support offered by Invest NI in the last financial year has helped local companies...”