First Minister Arlene Foster described her visit to the Coleraine area last week as ‘inspiring’.
The visit, last Tuesday, was facilitated by East Londonderry MLA Adrian McQuillan. Minister Foster opened the ‘Lead2Grow’ business conference in Coleraine, then visited Harpur’s Hill Family Centre, the Lacada Brewery in Portrush and Coleraine factory, Kerry Foods.
In a video, she complimented the North Coast on what she called her ‘listening tour’, and highlighted her aim as DUP leader and First Minister of the Province.
Joking about the’ tough questions’ put to her by the young children at Harpur’s Hill nursery, she said that it was because of young people like this that she was ‘determined to give positive leadership to Northern Ireland.’
The conference in Coleraine focused on small businesses, Minster Foster said: “The conference was about encouraging micro businesses, and encouraging them to be motivational,” she said.
“The nursery kids I met were certainly inspirational and motivational,” she added.
Ahead of her trip to the Portrush brewery, the DUP leader said she was looking forward to hearing how the local company were ‘inspired to grow and be motivated’.
“It’s all about trying to motivate and encourage people,” she said.
MLA Adrian McQuillan told The Times that the trip ‘opened the First Minister’s eyes’ to the forward thinking and innovative people that live in the area.
“It was a worthwhile exercise,” said McQuillan.
“We wanted to take the First Minister to places that would show the diversity of the area.
“The visit to Harpur’s Hill stressed the importance of community facilities like this not just to the Harpur’s Hill area, but to Coleraine as a whole.
“I think the trip showed that we have the workforce and the skills to cope with business, and indeed investment in the area.
“It is very encouraging for small businesses, like the Lacada Brewery in Portrush, that the First Minister is taking an interest.
“Mrs Foster was very impressed with the set up there and the fact it is a co-op, and I think she now realises how innovative we are here in the Coleraine area.”