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Last Updated: Friday, 27 October 2006, 05:58 GMT 06:58 UK
Focus on east city regeneration
Shipbuilding's decline has hit hard in east Belfast
A conference focusing on the regeneration of east Belfast in the wake of the decline in the manufacturing sector is being held.

Ards, Belfast and Castlereagh councils are set to unveil their action plan which is expected to call for more government support for the area.

The ABC Regeneration Committee aims to tackle problems caused by job losses.

Chairman George Ennis said the three councils had united to lobby government and "create momentum for job creation".

"Over the years the traditional manufacturing base in this area has been replaced by a local economy characterised by a large number of small businesses, retail and service sector jobs," he said.

Shipyard view
The shipyard site is being transformed into the Titanic Quarter
"Many of the old skills have been lost and many people have struggled to re-skill and upgrade skills in line with the ever changing needs of the local economy."

East Belfast has been hit hard by the decline of industries such as shipbuilding, as the Harland and Wolff shipyard was a major employer in the area.

And earlier this week, aerospace company Shorts announced that 645 jobs were to go at its Sydenham plant.

In contrast, Thursday saw 200 new jobs created by Citigroup, the largest bank in the US, at its technology centre of excellence in the Northern Ireland Science Park, near the site of the old shipyard.

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