#Protests - The cost to Brand Northern Ireland

Whether or not Stormont ministers advocate civil disobedience, it remains that unionist ministers have stood shoulder to shoulder with some of the most extreme in society. The First Minister has also said here that we can expect more protest and unrest this Christmas. But what exactly has been the effect of the rolling unrest in Northern Ireland? Journalist Paul Gosling (@PaulGosling1) considered the cost in the October edition of the Belfast Telegraph business magazine. Paul Gosling quoted a senior accountant who wished to be unnamed: 
"I spend a reasonable amount of my week in London, speaking to people who might be potential new investors. They are incredibly sensitive to news coverage of Northern Ireland’s internal disputes. And they are from Canada, or Korea and even the Middle East. It is world-wide distribution of bad press. We try to sell the Northern Ireland economy, saying that we have people to fill senior roles, yet we have people on the news [who are rioting] that you would not want to have working for you for love nor money. That makes life much more difficult for us."
Paul Gosling then cited a business advisor who works with executives considering where to invest and stressed how important stability to those who are considering whether or not to bring inward investment into Northern Ireland:
"Investors need managers to come over for two or three years, bringing their wives, families, children. Their wives are extremely influential, particularly if they are bringing over young children, When they are over here they are incredibly impressed by the education system and by the size of Belfast – everything is so close. It’s not just about winning over the CEOs."
We should not allow Northern Ireland to become a cold house for investors. Nor should we allow city centre retail to become a cold house for shoppers or for students, tourists and domestic residents who simply want to get on with their lives. For those who continue to defend their actions by swinging the flame of civil and religious liberties, it should, in the words of Ian Coulter of the CBI, be asked:
"Where are the rights for the people trying to trade and build businesses?"

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