Liam Neeson to promote tourism in Northern Ireland hometown

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Liam Neeson is to front a new tourism campaign for his hometown of Ballymena in Northern Ireland to give the region a boost amid rising unemployment.

The ‘Taken’ star grew up in the area, which is set to be blighted by job losses after two of the region’s biggest employers announced plans to close their plants.

When informed of the decision to close the Michelin tire factory late last year, Neeson called the move "tragic", and it has now emerged he has agreed to help out by fronting a tourism campaign for the region.

Neeson has agreed to appear in a series of adverts to help attract more tourists to the region around Ballymena.

Mid and East Antrim mayor Billy Ashe explained the plan during a local council meeting, saying, "He has agreed to work along with (tourist board) Tourism NI and the council to shoot a special advertisement featuring areas back home… and has agreed to appear on camera."

The actor, who is now an American citizen, was previously honoured in his hometown in 2013 when he was presented with the Freedom of the Borough.