Lack of economic orientation is “disheartening”, says new Speaker of the House
Business Editor Gary McDonald
June 19, 2021 1:00 AM
NI’s new Chamber of Commerce chairman insists restoring Northern Ireland as an attractive place for investors and tourists “requires positive, not negative, messages from around the world” .
And he described as “very discouraging” the lack of attention given to the economy by elected officials.
Paul Murnaghan also believes the region must seek “every opportunity” – including dual market access, new trade deals with key markets such as Canada and Australia, leveling the UK and funding for all the islands.
Mr Murnaghan, who heads BT in Northern Ireland, has been chosen to succeed Ian Henry as chairman of the trade organization, which supports more than 1,000 members in the north.
He joined BT in 2004, becoming Regional Director of BT Enterprise NI in January 2017. Previously, he held several positions in the IT industry.
In his inaugural address, he said, “Businesses here are resilient and are doing all they can to get back to normal, to bounce back, but it’s getting harder and harder to move forward – and the lack of attention to the economy of our elected officials is very discouraging.
“Right now, their priority should be to ensure a safe and managed economic recovery, which focuses on re-establishing Northern Ireland as an attractive place for foreign investors and tourists, who invest in connectivity and shares the positive, not the negative, messages around the world One who works collegially to transform our health and education systems.
He added: “We need to see our political leaders and our communities working together in the best interests of Northern Ireland. A spirit of compromise and cooperation got us through some of the worst weeks of the pandemic last year. We still need it if we really want to recover. “
The NI Chamber Virtual Annual Meeting also saw Gillian McAuley, Director of Human Resources for Devenish Nutrition Group, elected as Vice President.
Welcoming the two to their new roles, Chamber Executive Director Ann McGregor said, “Paul and Gillian bring a wealth of experience that will become a major asset to the organization.”