Newry 'looking to future with much optimism' says Chamber president
THE president of Newry Chamber of Commerce has outlined the challenges and opportunities facing the city during a passionate address to mark the organisation's 200th anniversary.
Emma Mullen-Marmion was addressing more than 250 guests at a banquet in the Canal Court Hotel and Spa.
"We know serious challenges exist as we face the aftermath of Covid19 and Brexit," she said.
"As we look to the future we are focused on prioritising areas such as skills and cross border trade, on protecting and promoting life in our city centre, on the creation of good work and happy communities, all of which will be instrumental in setting the region up for the next century.
"And yet on the other hand, we look to the future with much optimism in our local business community, given our strategic location on the eastern economic corridor, our strong multi-sectorial business base and our outstanding talent.
"The economic prospects for the region are further enhanced by the major infrastructure projects which are progressing, such as the Southern Relief Road and the Council's transformational Newry City Centre Regeneration projects, a new Civic Centre, Conference/Arts Centre, park and public realm.
"The Narrow Water Bridge project also offers significant tourism potential by linking communities across Carlingford Lough and beyond."
She added: "Our history has shown our ability to adapt and to change, our inherent revolutionary and evolutionary spirit and how we held and continue to hold in the balance the dreamers and the realists - how we hold on one hand the current realities of the challenges that we face, and the drive to find the solutions to get through, alongside the hand of hope and optimism of the vision we want to achieve tomorrow."
Guests also heard from three panels of speakers about the past, present and future of commercial activity in the Greater Newry region.
The past panel included three former presidents - Dr Conor Patterson (Newry and Mourne Cooperative & Enterprise Agency), David Hanna (Hanna Hillen Estate Agents & Financial Services) and Jerome Mullen (Honorary Consul of Poland in Northern Ireland).
The present panel was made up of Feargal McCormack (managing partner at PKF-FPM), Garry Best (Best Property Services) and Marie Ward (Newry, Mourne and Down District Council) while the future panel comprised Mark McGivern (FD Technologies), Brendan Carty (Killowen Distillery) and the Chamber president Emma Mullen-Marmion.
A charity raffle, with prizes donated by local businesses, raised £3422 for Saint Vincent de Paul.