‘Time to get back to work': New NIFDA chair calls for restoration of the Executive

New NIFDA chair George Mullan (centre) with outgoing chair Nick Whelan (right) and new vice-chair Ursula Lavery (left).

THE new chair of the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) has called for the Executive to be restored.

George Mullan is managing director of the ABP food group in Northern Ireland.

He takes over the role of chair from Dale Farm's group chief executive Nick Whelan.

Speaking after his appointment, Mr Mullan said: “It's time for our politicians to get back to work.

“This is a pivotal time for Northern Ireland food and drink as we seek to continue to grow the sector while navigating our way through the challenges of sustainable growth, climate change, food inflation and supply chain issues.

“We cannot address these challenges alone. Progress areas will require investment and collaboration with stakeholders and all levels of government. We need to get the new Assembly up and running, and for Ministers to be appointed to champion the industry at this pivotal moment. “

Food and drink is the north's largest single manufacturing industry.

NIFDA estimates the sector is worth around £4.9 billion for the economy here, supporting 113,000 jobs across the supply chain.

“We feed 10 million people worldwide, and our industry is world leading when it comes to quality, innovation, sustainability, animal welfare and commercial success,” said Mr Mullan.

“I am confident that we can boost our growth, build upon our sustainability credentials and play a key role in Northern Ireland's economic recovery with the right level of collaboration between industry and government.”

The ABP boss will hold the chair for two years. Ursula Lavery, Moy Park's R&D director for Europe, has been appointed as vice chair.

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