In Belfast, Out With The Old (Economy), In With The New

While the peace process aimed at ending 30 years of conflict continues to founder, Northern Ireland got some welcome news recently when Canadian e-business facilitator Pivotal Corp. announced it would set up a "center of excellence" in Belfast, the province's capital city. The announcement is the latest in a series by high-tech companies locating in or around Belfast, which is rapidly becoming an adherent of the Internet economy. But bad news from the old economy came last week for Northern Ireland, with the announcement that cruise liner operator Cunard had not chosen Harland & Wolff (H&W) -- the shipyard where the Titanic was built -- to build the Queen Mary II. Cunard's decision throws into doubt the future of the 150-year-old Belfast yard. H&W's 1,500 workers have been given 90 days' notice that the facility may close when it winds up its current book of business in June.

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