Last month, in a landmark event symbolising the restoration of devolution in Northern Ireland, Harland & Wolff was pleased to welcome the largest cross-party delegation of Westminster politicians in the country’s history.

The delegation, comprising members from all political spectrums, was a testament to the collaborative spirit supporting the renewed political landscape. The visit underscored the shared commitment to bolstering Northern Ireland’s economy and supporting its industrial heritage as a cornerstone for a prosperous future.

Harland & Wolff, with over 160 years of maritime and engineering excellence, stands as a beacon of industrial resilience in Belfast. The yard, once the birthplace of the RMS Titanic, has weathered the ebbs and flows of history and now represents a modern success story in a region that is itself undergoing a process of restoration and rejuvenation.

During their visit, the politicians were given an extensive tour of the facilities, witnessing the innovative work being carried out by the skilled workforce. The yard’s current projects include the manufacturing of barges for the River Thames, the refurbishment of a cruise liner and the mid-life upgrade of an FPSO (Floating production storage and offloading). The guests also saw the extensive civil works underway to upgrade and expand facilities across the Belfast site in preparation for the company’s Fleet Solid Support (FSS) sub-contract.

Representatives from the company briefed the guests on the company’s business plan and how the Belfast yard hosts work from across Harland & Wolff’s five core markets; commercial, cruise and ferry, defence, oil & gas and renewables, showcasing Harland & Wolff’s adaptability and its role in driving Northern Ireland’s economic growth.

The cross-party nature of the visit was highlighted as a significant step forward in the restoration of devolution. The delegation left confident in the yard’s ability to adapt and thrive. The message was clear: Northern Ireland is open for business, and its institutions are working in concert to support innovation, job creation, and economic stability.

As the political institutions in Northern Ireland continue to be restored, the yard stands as a symbol of what can be achieved through unity and a forward-looking approach. Harland & Wolff remains committed to playing a pivotal role in the region’s ongoing success story.

John Wood, CEO of Harland & Wolff said:

“It is with great pride that we welcome this historic delegation to Harland & Wolff. This visit is not just about observing our advanced facilities; it’s about understanding the vital role we play in the local community. Our yard is a hub of activity, providing skilled jobs, apprenticeships, and fostering a supply chain that benefits numerous local businesses. The strong order book we have is a testament to the confidence in our capabilities and the dedication of our workforce. It ensures that we will remain a key employer in Belfast for years to come, driving forward innovation and contributing to the economic prosperity of Northern Ireland.

The restoration of political institutions in Northern Ireland comes at a crucial time as we look to the future with optimism. Harland & Wolff is more than a shipyard; it’s a symbol of Northern Ireland’s resilience and potential. We are committed to working with the Assembly and other stakeholders to ensure that we continue to be a cornerstone of the local economy, providing opportunities for growth and development.”

Hillary Benn, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said:

“I was delighted to tour the Harland and Wolff shipyard with a cross-party delegation of Parliamentary colleagues. It was great to see the yard buzzing with activity and to hear about the new jobs that are being created. The £77 million upgrade of the yard’s infrastructure is a huge vote of confidence in its future and will enable state-of-the-art shipbuilding techniques. Harland and Wolff is an icon of Belfast manufacturing and judging by what I saw it has a very bright future indeed at a time of great opportunity for the Northern Ireland economy.”

Fleur Anderson, Shadow Minister, Northern Ireland said:

“It was brilliant to visit the Harland and Wolff shipyard. The shipyard is an icon of Northern Ireland’s rich industrial heritage, and it is inspiring to see how that legacy is being brought into the 21st Century. It was interesting to learn that Harland & Wolff has been rejuvenated with new defence contracts, is committed to net zero, and is employing hundreds of people. We met with apprentices and saw barges being built which are destined for the Thames, which runs through my constituency of Putney.”