Northern Ireland

EU referendum: Bombardier tells workers it would be better off if 'UK remains in EU'

Image caption The letter was written to Bombardier workers by Belfast vice-president Michael Ryan

The boss of Bombardier in Belfast has told its staff that "it is better for our company that the UK remains within the EU".

The Canadian-owned firm is Northern Ireland's biggest manufacturing employer

It employs around 5,000 people in its aerospace business.

The firm's Belfast vice-president Michael Ryan wrote in a letter to staff that the "European debate is very emotional".

The referendum will take place across the UK on Thursday, 23 June.

But, he said that Europe has been good to the company in terms of investment, air travel and giving free movement of goods.

'Informed decision'

The aerospace firm's Northern Ireland operation exports 95% of its products - 33% of them directly into Europe.

"There are strong views on either side," Mr Ryan wrote.

"But, I can only speak for our company's experience of operating within the EU and explain to you we believe it is better for our company that the UK remains within the EU."

He added that by clarifying the company's position it would "help" employees make "an informed decision on this very important issue".

While Bombardier has stated their support of staying in the EU, other businesses here support the campaign to leave.

William Wright, the founder of bus-maker Wrightbus which employs more than 1,500 people, said he was "totally in favour of getting out".

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