Historically, the main economic strengths have been manufacturing,
concentrated on the shipbuilding and aerospace industries in the
eastern part of the province. Agriculture is prevalent throughout.
However, manufacturing has been in long-term decline, although a
steady stream of government contracts has enabled it to survive
in a reduced form. Agriculture has grown steadily,
underpinned by the policies of the European Union.
The public sector is the largest single part of
the economy and subventions from the British government account
for the bulk of the province’s income. The political settlement
in the province has presented new opportunities for Northern Ireland’s
economy, as well as some problems. The most important of these is
tourism which is sensitive to political circumstances in the province
and has been largely depressed since the early 1970s. Similar considerations
apply to foreign investment which the province is trying to attract
– especially in light of the success enjoyed by the Irish
government during the 1990s. Indeed, the growing economic links
between Northern Ireland and the Republic may bring the best prospects
for the future development of the province’s economy. Along
with the the UK, the Republic of Ireland already accounts for the
bulk of Northern Ireland’s external trade.
The following organisation can offer advice:
Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 22 Great Victoria
Street, Belfast BT2 7BJ (telephone: (028) 9024 4113; fax: (028)
9024 7024; -mail: email@example.com
Contact Northern Ireland Conference Bureau, St Anne’s Court,
59 North Street, Belfast BT1 1NB (telephone: (028) 9031 5513; fax:
(028) 9031 5544; email: firstname.lastname@example.org).