The Derry and Letterkenny Chambers of Commerce have met to discuss their shared priorities for the North West ahead of a significant year for the region.
Representing over 600 businesses across the North West, the two Chambers agreed a partnership in 2021 to collaborate on issues affecting the membership of both bodies. The meeting was the first opportunity for new Chamber Presidents, Derry Chamber’s Aidan O’Kane, and Letterkenny Chamber’s Kristine Reynolds, to meet as they began their tenure.
With Protocol negotiations ongoing, both Chambers expressed their desire for the protection of the North West’s unfettered access to UK, Ireland, and EU markets. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to present challenges to businesses on both sides of the border, with rising energy and material costs presenting further disruption to hard-hit retail and hospitality sectors.
The meeting comes as the Chambers submit their joint response to the All Island Strategic Rail Review, where they call for wholesale rail reform to strengthen the North West’s connectivity with the island’s other economic hubs.
Over the past year, the Chambers have also collaborated on a Masters in Research Programme examining cross border clusters, with a particular focus on the FinTech sector.
Kristine Reynolds, Letterkenny Chamber President, said the North West provides unfettered access to the UK, Ireland and EU markets.
“Regional infrastructure and connectivity are improving slowly, however, and there remains little to no rail connectivity to and within our region. Following the All Island Strategic Rail Review, both Stormont and Dublin must work to address the regional imbalance in transport infrastructure as part of a properly funded investment programme to bolster our region.”
“I was pleased to meet with my counterpart Aidan and I hope that, in working together, we can build a more vibrant, sustainable and prosperous regional economy that benefits everyone.”