Fri 9th Feb 2018
Irish Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Heather Humphreys, T.D., addresses Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry event
Mark Ennis (Non-Executive Chairman at SSE); Heather Humphreys (Irish Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Minister); Ellvena Graham (President of NI Chamber) and Ann McGregor (Chief Executive of NI Chamber) pictured at NI Chamber Business Briefing in Belfast this morning.
Heather Humphreys, Ireland’s Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, met this morning with representatives from a range of businesses in Northern Ireland to discuss cross-border trade and Brexit at an event hosted by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry and SSE in Belfast.
Minister Humphreys, who represents the border area of Cavan-Monaghan in the Irish Dáil, has responsibility for, amongst other things, enterprise policy, trade, investment and research & development. She is also leading efforts to help Irish companies prepare for and address the challenges associated with the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
Speaking about the benefits of North-South trade at the event, the Minister said:
“Coming from the border area, and having worked in financial services in border towns, I understand how important cross-border commerce really is. It’s not only about our respective economies; it’s also about supporting families, sustaining communities and working together to promote the region as an attractive place to do business.
“Furthermore, I am acutely aware of the particular challenges that Brexit may create for firms engaged in cross-border commerce. That is why I am determined, as Ireland’s Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, to deepen and enhance, as best I can, the commercial ties between North and South”.
The Minister also addressed the work being undertaken by InterTradeIreland:
“I want to recognise the particularly important contribution that InterTradeIreland – the cross-border enterprise body that is co-funded by both our jurisdictions – is making to improve the economies on both sides of the border. This includes both its work in supporting North-South trade, and helping companies to prepare for Brexit. The Irish Government will continue to support the work that InterTradeIreland undertakes in the time ahead.”
Ellvena Graham, President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said:
“When it comes to Brexit, businesses have been incredibly patient in their desire for clarity – something that has not emerged to date. There is no room for continued ambiguity as companies make investment and hiring decisions.
“The government must therefore set out its plans – and it is important that any negotiations between the UK and the EU ensure that our strong ties with the Republic of Ireland on issues of major importance to both sides of the border are not eroded.
“In the last week, the Northern Ireland economy has been struck by a major blow with job losses at Williams Industrial Services and Schlumberger. At such a critical time, we must do all we can to retain jobs, and also protect those small businesses that are involved in the Williams and Schlumberger supply chains. I think it is fair to say a lot more needs to be done to help businesses here, and in particular our manufacturing sector. Brexit is yet another huge challenge for them.”
Minister Humphreys’ speech – Click to Download