UNITED STATES/N.IRELAND - Four New York City pension fund have committed to invest $150m (€94.1m) into the Emerald Infrastructure Development Fund LP, which in turn invests capital in Northern Ireland.

The deal is a major development which would not have been possible until the Northern Irish political scene was considered to be stable.

However, the New York City Employees Retirement System, Teacher Retirement System for the City of New York, New York City Police Pension Fund and New York City Fire Department Fund have now agreed to invest in the infrastructure fund because local underfunding of essential services during the conflict years now presents a benefit to both investors and the local inhabitants, according to William Thompson Jr, comptroller for New York City.

"Based on vigorous assessment by our investment consultants, we are confident that there is great potential for long-term investment success in Northern Ireland because of an historical underinvestment in infrastructure," said Thompson.

"While our number one priority is a strong return on our investment, we are encouraged that the projects we invest in will promote sustainable development and equality of opportunity, and will help to improve the economic condition of those that have disadvantaged by patterns of historical exclusion and by nearly 30 years of civil strife," he added.

The investment by the New York pension funds will be managed by Emerald Development Managers LLC, and this will in turn be handled by the company's offices in New York City and Belfast.

A portion of the fund will involve some real estate ventures which include commercial, hospitality and retail developments, while other assets will be placed in public infrastructure projects like light rail, water and seaports.

Emerald has made a commitment to focus on new assets in order to create value and jobs in Northern Ireland.

Thompson believes recent events in Northern Ireland will lead to some new investment possibilities.

"Recent advancements towards peace in Northern Ireland have created attractive opportunities for investment. Companies doing business there will have access to a diverse and highly-trained workforce, which is vital to ensuring a company's long-term investment viability," he concluded.