All-island business conference to explore benefits of cross-border co-operation

The annual Ibec-CBI All-Island Economy Conference takes place in Dundalk on Thursday

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The single electricity market and energy security are expected to be on the agenda at the Ibec-CBI All-Island Economy Conference in Dundalk on Thursday.

An all-island business event will take place in Dundalk today to discuss maximising the economic benefits of cross-border co-operation.

The annual Ibec-CBI All-Island Economy Conference will consider shared policy concerns including energy, infrastructure, investment and the all-island labour market.

The trade bodies first established a joint council in 1993, but the focus on improving the business environment on the island has come under much more focus since Brexit.

The CBI and Ibec said while many aspects of the all-island economy have performed strongly despite the challenges of the UK leaving the EU, a number of areas could benefit from further co-operation.

In particular, the business leaders said there is an urgent need to progress north-south policy co-ordination to protect the single electricity market, secure the island’s energy supply and meet legally mandated net zero climate action goals.

“Significant shifts in geopolitics, supply chains, energy sources and labour markets, make it even more important for business and policy makers to collaborate on the best way forward for the All-Island economy,” the CBI’s director in the north, Angela McGowan,

“Firms are hungry to reap all the potential advantages that a well-developed All-Island economy can deliver.

“These advantages include: a bigger market for sales and supply chains, a greater labour market pool, improved connectivity for trade, tourists and workers as well as access to a secure supply of cheaper green energy.”

Ibec boss Danny McCoy added: “There is a lot of political change happening both on the islands of Ireland and Britain this year, and it is important we push forward with an all-island economic agenda that can deliver real opportunities on both sides of the Irish border.

“With restored political stability in Northern Ireland and a functioning North-South Ministerial Council, businesses across the island of Ireland are looking to policies that can maximise economic benefits from cross-border cooperation.”