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Nesbitt responds to criticism from Arlene Foster

Ulster Unionist Economy spokesman, Mike Nesbitt MLA, has responded to the criticism levelled at him by Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster on today's Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster. 

The member for Strangford said: "Senior officials of Tourism Ireland briefed the Enterprise committee two weeks ago, and when I asked about their plans to have a presence at the 2012 US Open in San Francisco, they did not have an answer. The same thing happened when the Northern Ireland Tourist Board briefed the Committee yesterday. Yet the Minister is able to reel off a number of initiatives being undertaken by Invest NI, and criticises me for not knowing. What about the fact that the two key tourism bodies did not know? So much for joined up government. 

"In the days following Rory McIlroy's success at the US Open last year, I put a proposal to the First Minister which might have helped maximise the economic spin-off of the back-to-back Northern Ireland wins. I also briefed officials and a staffer at the US Consul in Belfast, who appeared keen to explore further. Peter Robinson said he would have to pass it to Ms Foster, as it is her Department. Seven months later, I have yet to have a response - not a syllable. For those interested, I attach a copy of what was an outline proposal, which could have been shaped into an event to help boost awareness of Northern Ireland, further engage the US political and business community, and raise funds for social enterprises here and in the USA." 

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