Northern Ireland

Harland and Wolff workers 'buoyant' over shipyard's future

Shipyard Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption One shipyard worker described the mood amongst the workforce on Monday as "buoyant"

Shipyard workers at Harland and Wolff have said they are becoming increasingly hopeful that their jobs will be saved.

One shipyard worker described the mood amongst the workforce on Monday as "buoyant".

Paul Beattie, who has worked at the yard for 33 years, said: "We are very, very optimistic.

"There are people who are very interested in (buying) Harland and Wolff."

The business - best known for building the Titanic - entered administration earlier this month, with accountancy firm BDO overseeing the process.

The move placed 120 jobs at risk.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The business entered administration earlier this month

However, on Friday BDO confirmed the existence of potential buyers.

A spokesperson said: "There have been positive discussions with interested parties for the sale of the business as a going concern.

"It is hoped that these discussions may result in credible offers."

On Monday afternoon, East Belfast DUP MP Gavin Robinson met the administrators.

Afterwards he said: "It is encouraging to hear that there are not only two bidders, but they are credible.

"It's incredibly encouraging to hear that there is not only private interest, but there is investment potential.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption One hundred and twenty people work at the shipyard

"The bidders recognise the skills and assets of Harland and Wolff shipyard and want to run it as a going concern."

The MP said there are issues around "due diligence, around provision of funds, around capacity", but the overall situation was positive.

Susan Fitzgerald, regional co-ordinating officer for Unite union, said: "There is now a very, very strong possibility of saving this yard for future generations."

Workers are continuing to mount a round-the-clock protest at the front of the yard.

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