Tue 29th Aug 2017
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney TD addresses NI Chamber event
Pictured are NI Chamber President Ellvena Graham; Irish Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Simon Coveney TD; BT’s Paul Murnaghan and NI Chamber Chief Executive Ann McGregor
Simon Coveney TD, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, has met with businesses in Northern Ireland to discuss Brexit at an event hosted by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) and BT.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, who is also responsible for Brexit, met with over 100 of Northern Ireland’s leading businesses at a breakfast in Belfast’s Merchant Hotel this morning (29 August 2017).
Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, has met with businesses in Northern Ireland to discuss Brexit at an event hosted by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber).
Addressing the audience, the Minister said: “I’m delighted to have a chance to meet with the NI Chamber of Commerce and its companies and I’m grateful to Ellvena Graham and Ann McGregor for the invitation.”
“The voice of business is vital in the debate on Brexit and dealing with its impact on Northern Ireland. And we are at a critical juncture now in terms of making that voice heard.”
“Our current border arrangement has been a vital part of our shared peace, just as it has been a critical facilitator of Northern Ireland’s £3.6 billion of exports to Ireland annually. This is more than a third of all Northern Ireland exports.”
“The best way to ensure we preserve the kind of border arrangements that have served us so well is for the UK and Northern Ireland to remain in the Customs Union and Single Market.”
“Businesses in Northern Ireland should not underestimate their influence at this time. I’m pleased to have a chance to hear the views of leading business-women and men in Northern Ireland this morning, but I hope these views also resonate in Belfast, London and Brussels over the coming weeks.”
Ellvena Graham, President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “NI Chamber is delighted that the Minister was able to address our members at this challenging time.”
“Because many of our businesses export to Ireland, or operate on an all island basis, many firms here are rightly concerned about the impact of Brexit and as a Chamber our priority must therefore be around protecting the all-island market and supply chain.”
“The free movement of goods – and also people – across the border is essential to the success of Northern Ireland’s economy.”
Commenting on the Minister’s involvement in the Northern Ireland political talks process, Ms Graham continued: “For too long now, our members have had to work with a non-functioning NI Executive which makes it very challenging for business and wider society. I ask that Minister Coveney does all that he can to encourage our politicians to come to an agreement and get back to work for the good of the Northern Ireland economy.”