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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Jobs boost for software firm
IT worker at Northbrook Technologies
Invest Northern Ireland is contributing 5.5m
A software company is to create more than 660 jobs in Belfast and the north-west region of Northern Ireland.

Northbrook Technology has announced it will invest in its operation in Belfast and new facilities in Strabane and Londonderry should mean 260 jobs there.

Enterprise Minister Barry Gardiner said the expansion was "especially good news" for an area badly affected by the textile industry closures.

The government funded economic development organisation, Invest Northern Ireland, is contributing 5.5m to the investment.

"This is particularly good news for the North West and will provide quality employment opportunities with a fast growing US insurance company in a developing business sector," said Mr Gardiner.

"It is an exceptionally important development within Invest Northern Ireland's North West Action Plan, which aims to transform the economy here by attracting investment from IT and other knowledge-led sectors," he said.

Northbrook Technologies building in Belfast
We've also been impressed by the high level of interest and support from government departments and local community groups in both centres
Bro McFerran
Northbrook Technology

"Investments over 100m have already resulted from the Action Plan.

"The Northbrook expansion will focus on the development of new skills in software and services in an area that has been badly affected by the closure and downsizing of textiles and clothing and other traditional industries."

Bro McFerran, the company's managing director, said the choice of locations was influenced by previous recruitment of "well-educated and easily motivated people in Belfast and Londonderry keen to develop careers in the IT industry".

"We've also been impressed by the high level of interest and support from government departments and local community groups in both centres," he said.

Northbrook Technology plans to move from its existing premises in Derry to a new software development centre it is establishing at Strand Road.

The company said it expected total employment in its Northern Ireland operations would reach more than 1,400 by 2006.

BBC NI business editor James Kerr:
"A number of other significant investors are looking at Northern Ireland as a possible location"

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