McLaughlin has been calling for the publication of the report since first requesting it in December 2019 and subsequently in a series of written questions.
Said the Foyle MLA: “The evaluation of Project Kelvin makes very interesting reading. It is reassuring that the overall assessment is positive and that it has provided telecoms infrastructure that is essential for big businesses here and for large data users.
“As an MLA for Foyle, though, I have had my concerns about the impact of the project confirmed. A number of the observations made in the report are actually very worrying.
“Those comments include:
‘Representatives from Hibernia [the provider] have suggested that the uptake of Project Kelvin by businesses based in the North West region has not fully been in line with the expected levels.’ [Page 51]
‘It was suggested that, for the most part, no discernable FDI impacts have been seen outside Belfast as a result of Project Kelvin.’ [Page 38]
“However, and more positively, I note that the report states ‘it was suggested by some consultees that there is potentially a very substantial opportunity to utilise and leverage Project Kelvin to attract ‘Tier 1′ businesses and large FDI propositions, such as data centres and drug discovery businesses to NI.’ [Page 38], and ‘The key message was that whilst it is difficult to attribute any investment specifically to the existing of Project Kelvin, had it not been in place, many subsequent FDI investments may not even have reached the negotiation stage.’ [Page 51]
“My conclusion, like that of the evaluation, is that Project Kelvin has been positive for the North of Ireland on both sides of the border, but that the impact on Derry has been disappointing.
“I expect that local business leaders and former Foyle MP Mark Durkan, who campaigned for Project Kelvin for the benefit of Derry, will also be disappointed.”