'Push ahead with Derry City Deal or lose our best talent', ACCA head urges

Clodagh Hegarty, the newly-elected chair of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in Ireland

DERRY is 'the most exposed region to Brexit' and needs its City Regional Deal pushed through as a matter of urgency, otherwise its brightest young talent won't hang around after graduating, an accountancy body head has insisted.

Clodagh Hegarty, a lecturer in accounting at the Department of Global Business and Enterprise at Ulster University, was speaking to coincide with her elevation to chair of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in Ireland.

She said Derry's huge dependent on a dynamic cross border economy, and its remote location in a post Brexit arena, made it the most exposed small city in Ireland, and she urged the Government to immediately introduce the proposed Derry and Strabane City Regional Deal.

Ms Hegarty added “The North West is producing some of the most talented and skilled graduates anywhere in the UK, with many undoubtedly having the capability of starting businesses and creating employment.

"But with the uncertainty regarding the Brexit process and a very finely balanced economy dependent on a small number of revenue generating sectors which are being directly threatened by the withdrawal process, many of those young people will unfortunately not be starting those businesses in Derry or its surrounding area. They will be travelling to Dublin, London and other EU cities to achieve their business goals.

“I therefore call on all those with influence to provide businesses and the next generation of entrepreneurs with re-assurances and support by immediately introducing an economic stimulus through the proposed City Deal."

She said it was encouraging that a number of global companies have invested in the city in sectors such as IT and technology manufacturing alongside leading academic institutions and world-class centres of research for tomorrow's industry, but claimed the Brexit process "is unsettling the potential for future prosperity in the north-west and needs to be addressed".

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