Northern Ireland

Executive high-end jobs project for Belfast never materialised

Arlene Foster made the jobs announcement for IT firm Parity Solutions in 2010, when she was minister at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
Image caption Arlene Foster made the jobs announcement for IT firm Parity Solutions in 2010, when she was minister at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment

It has emerged that a project, which the executive said would create around 100 well-paying jobs in Belfast, never materialised.

Arlene Foster made the announcement for IT firm Parity Solutions in 2010, when she was minister at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

Invest NI had pledged £630,000 in support, but it was never paid as the company rethought its plans.

At the time, the firm employed 63 people and aimed to hire up to 94 more.

It intended creating a "Microsoft centre of excellence", which Ms Foster said would "contribute almost £3m in salaries to the economy".

Image caption Parity is based at the Northern Ireland Science Park, but its headquarters are in London

But six years later, just under 20 staff are employed locally and on Tuesday they were told half of them are likely to lose their jobs as the Belfast office down sizes.

The cutbacks are being linked to a loss of government work.

Parity is based at the Northern Ireland Science Park, but its headquarters are in London.

There have been other occasions when, usually for commercial reasons, expansions backed by Invest NI did not work out.

US firms Vello Systems and CVS Caremark are recent examples of businesses that reduced their staff in Northern Ireland following earlier announcements to expand.