At a unique conference, the first of its kind, attended by almost 400 people, Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade and keynote speaker, Simon Coveney was heartened to see the continuing close working relationships enjoyed by Louth County Council, Newry, Mourne & Down District Council, the Newry and Dundalk Chambers of Commerce, InterTradeIreland and Local Enterprise Offices in Newry and Louth.
During his keynote address, Minister Coveney provided reassurance on the European Council agreement in December and commented on the priorities in the next phase of negotiations emphasising that any type of border North-South or East-West would have disastrous effects economically, politically and socially. He also underlined the importance of ensuring that we are all ‘Brexit-Ready’.
Attendees also heard from a wide range of speakers providing very comprehensive advice on issues such as taxation, customs and movement of people. It was clear that the scale of this challenge was unprecedented and pleas were made from businesses for good sense to prevail to protect the future of Ireland and Britain.
Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council, Cllr. Colm Markey said: ‘Brexit is one of the most significant challenges facing business and our community in recent generations. Because of its potential impact it is critically important businesses start preparing for Brexit. I’m delighted that Louth County Council is co-hosting this informative event with our cross-border partners which will help businesses start their preparations.
Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Cllr. Roisin Mulgrew said: ‘Newry, Mourne and Down District Council were delighted to co-host this conference with key local and cross-border partners in an area which will be most impacted by Brexit. The conference reinforced that businesses need to start planning now to prepare for all eventualities in order to mitigate future risks and minimise the impact of Brexit’.’
President of Newry Chamber of Commerce, Paul Convery said: ‘The scale of this event is a clear indication of the importance of Brexit dialogue and engagement on all levels. It was an unrivalled platform for our members to see and fully understand the support that the Chambers and our cross-border partners are providing’.
President of Dundalk Chamber, Michael Gaynor said: ‘We are delighted with the huge turnout of attendees and the success of the event. The collective nature of engagement was unprecedented and further validates the importance of this issue for all of our members’.
Photo 1: L-R: Frank Pentony, Director of Services at Louth County Council, CEO of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Liam Hannaway, Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Cllr Roisin Mulgrew, President of Newry Chamber of Commerce, Paul Convery, Chair of Louth County Council Cllr Colm Markey, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, President of Dundalk Chamber, Michael Gaynor and CEO of Newry Chamber, Mary Meehan