‘We help our members grow through a variety of networking opportunities.’

Chamber outlines economic challenges

Newly appointed Newry and Commerce and Trade president Cathal Austin believes the local economy faces another challenging year in 2012. In an annual statement Mr Austin said he was “concerned at the many challenges we will face in the year ahead.” These included uncertainty in the euro zone, government spending cuts and eroded consumer confidence. Despite this Mr Austin believes focussing on positives will help the local economy with the extension of the Small Business Rates Relief Scheme singled out for praise. “As the Greater Newry area’s business community is primarily made up of small businesses many in the district will benefit from this modest rebate,” he said. Mr Austin also believes the upcoming environmental improvement scheme for Hill Street and Monaghan Street will also boost the local trading environment. Newry Chamber welcomes this £1.7m into our traditional shopping precincts, it will incorporate new street furniture lighting and paving with the objective of encouraging more footfall into the city centre,” he said. The Chamber will also continue its initiatives for developing and supporting business with a number of planned events. These include ‘Communications in the Digital Age’ on January 18, a business dinner on January 30 with a senior government official from the Department of Finance and in March another event will take place with a senior representative from the DETI. A meeting with the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service and the permanent secretaries of all government departments are also planned. Further planned events include ‘Newry Style City’, the Chamber’s annual dinner and the biennial Greater Newry Area Business Awards. In addition 2012 sees the 10th anniversary of Newry achieving city status, the hosting of the Olympic Torch and 120th anniversary of the Chamber which we hope to mark with a gala event,’ Mr Austin said. The business community in Newry has experienced difficult times before and whilst the economic woes of recent years have been the worst for at least a generation, I remain optimistic, we inn business in Newry have proven to be resilient, resourceful and entrepreneurial in the face of past difficulties and that spirit combined with a help of a strong proactive chamber and supportive self reliant business community will see us through our current difficulties to a brighter future.


Newry Reporter

4th January 2012