The Northern Ireland Diaspora has a key role to play in creating opportunities for our economy, Junior Ministers, Megan Fearon and Alastair Ross have said.

The Minsters commented after the Friendship Four Ice Hockey tournament hosted by NI Connections at the SSE Arena in Belfast which saw four US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams compete for the Belpot Trophy.
Junior Minister, Megan Fearon said: “There are approximately 70 million Irish Diaspora in the world and around 10 million of those have connections to the North. No matter where in the world you travel, you always come across someone with connections here and building on those international connections is important to help benefit our economy, our community and our future. Our global family, regardless of where they live, still have our best interests and prospects at heart.

“We live in a world which has never been more connected and through its work the Connections programme helps promote and develop networks in the areas of education, investment, innovation and tourism. Diaspora networks, such as Invest NI's Advisory Boards on the East and West Coasts of the US, are particularly well positioned to use expatriates to identify new inward investment projects. Their work is of great benefit to our inward investment strategy.”
Junior Minister, Alastair Ross said: “I’m very pleased to welcome all our guests to Northern Ireland, including players, coaches, family, friends and supporters, particularly on their Thanksgiving weekend. It’s great so many of the visitors have links to Northern Ireland either through ancestry, work or study.

“Northern Ireland has so much to offer and our Diaspora are key to spreading the word that it’s a great place to live, work and invest. We want to build on these links to pursue every opportunity to promote tourism, business and inward investment. The international visitors here tonight can play an important part in our future prosperity and I congratulate NI Connections for bringing this important event to Belfast and showcase what a dynamic, vibrant and welcoming place Northern Ireland is.”

This year’s NCAA ice hockey teams competing in the tournament were Quinnipiac University, The University of Vermont, St. Lawrence University and University of Massachusetts.

Published: Monday, 28 November 2016