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Time for a City Deal for the North West Region, says Londonderry Chamber Chief

The President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce told guests at a business lunch today that it is time for a City Deal for Derry / Londonderry and the North West region.

President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce John Healy, Broadcaster Jo Scott, comedian Tim McGarry, President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce Brian McGrath and Business Acquisitions Manager from First Trust Bank Stephen Comer

Mr McGrath made the comments as business leaders from across the North West gathered together for the Chamber’s Annual President’s Lunch in the Everglades Hotel.

As well as Mr McGrath, the invited audience also heard from the Vice President and Managing Director of Allstate in Northern Ireland John Healy, who is also the President of the NI Chamber this year. The lunch was sponsored by First Trust Bank.

President of the Londonderry Chamber, Brian McGrath said: “The absence of a functioning Assembly at Stormont coupled with the possibility of a no deal Brexit is seriously impacting on Business and Civic society across the North West City Region. Our members are telling us that they want to see greater investment in the North West and a City Deal to stimulate connectivity and growth.

“A City Deal must work for the whole of the North West City Region. One that recognises that we operate across a wide region and have members that both live, work and travel on both sides of the border. It must recognise our unique location and our interwoven lives.

“We will continue to work closely with Derry City and Strabane District Council and other partners to make that vision a reality.

“I am particularly encouraged today to have the support of First Trust Bank, as well the NI Chamber. It is through this network with other businesses and stakeholders that harnesses our potential here in the North West by working together to secure a city region deal that works for everyone.”

Vice President and Managing Director of Allstate Northern Ireland and President of the NI Chamber of Commerce, John Healy said: “I’m privileged to have been invited by the Chamber and to have the opportunity to speak to business leaders here in the North West.

“Today we send a powerful message to our members that both Chambers are working together, fighting on their behalf and representing their business needs.

“The North West region is a place that Allstate recognises as one that has talent, ability and drive in abundance, which is why we have invested in creating jobs and employment in Derry/Londonderry and Strabane.

“I am acutely aware of the pressures that are being faced across the region and the direct impact that these are having upon businesses here. However, despite the pressures, the North West is a place to do business and we are fully supportive of the bid for a City Deal that would undoubtedly create more opportunities.”

Stephen Comer, Business Acquisitions Manager, First Trust Bank said: “First Trust are proud supporters of the Londonderry Chamber and we are thrilled to be able to support this year’s annual President’s Lunch.

“The city has undergone a big transformation in recent years, but we still have a lot of work to do. It is heartening to see the Chamber look ahead to a City Deal, despite the difficulties posed by Brexit. It is this determination and drive that will make the region’s economy grow and we need that positive outlook in the challenging weeks that lie ahead.

“First Trust is fully behind a City Deal bid for the region because we understand the transformative effect it could have on the city and the businesses who operate here.”

The lunch was hosted by BBC Presenter Jo Scott and compered by the Blame Game’s Tim McGarry with more than 200 attendees from the business community across the North West in attendance.