Businesses and third sector organisations have vital role to play in meeting challenges ahead

20th Jan 2020

The skills and expertise of businesses and third sector organisations can play an vital role in helping the newly formed NI Executive meet the myriad of challenges it faces in the coming years – that was the message this morning as the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s ‘Your Assembly and You’ event which saw businesses, charities, social enterprises and local government organisations gather to discuss the return of the NI Executive and Assembly. 

Chaired by NI Chamber’s President, John Healy, the event heard from former government Special Advisor and current Managing Partner of MW Advocate Brendan Mulgrew along with former UUP MLA and Deputy Leader John McCallister. 

Speaking at the event, Brendan Mulgrew said: “Brexit, the crisis in the Health Service, the climate emergency, our poor water infrastructure, the need for more housing, more education funding and more police funding are just some of the myriad of challenges facing the incoming Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly as they begin work. The fact is that on many of these issues, the expertise and experience of those working in business and the third sector mean that it’s people outside of government and the civil service who can provide the solutions and project management skills to help solve problems.” 

“All of us here today are committed to making Northern Ireland a better place to live and work and there’s a new energy and focus to ensure that happens. It’s clear from the number of people here today and the discussion, that experts are willing and able to engage with government and it is vital that they’re given a meaningful opportunity to do so through effective engagement,” he added. 

John Healy, who chaired this morning’s event said: “The numbers attending today’s event and the depth of the debate shows that for organisations from the private and third sector, the return of the NI Executive and Assembly is a vital first step in addressing the range of problems that we currently face. A proactive team of Ministers, who listen and engage with experts, can deliver first class services for the people who live here. That means a strong economy, improved prosperity, and a better society.”

Former UUP MLA and deputy Leader John McCallister also spoke at the event and gave his insight into the Assembly and Executive and his views on the future. Today’s event was attended by over 40 organisations from across Northern Ireland from business, third sector and local government organisations.