Derry hosts major economic conference

Council Chief Executive, John Kelpie.

Council Chief Executive, John Kelpie.

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Derry City and Strabane District Council, in association with Agenda NI, hosted more than 150 delegates at the City Hotel on Wednesday for the 21st Annual Northern Ireland Economic Conference.

The conference examined in detail the Northern Ireland economy in the broader economic environment, looking in depth at the implications of the recent Brexit vote.

Speakers who took part in the conference.

Speakers who took part in the conference.

The stellar lineup of speakers included deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock and Council’s Chief Executive John Kelpie.

“We were delighted to bring this high level economic event to the North West,” said Mr Kelpie. “Delegates are visiting us during a period of significant improvement in key areas and it was therefore an opportune time to sell our region as a place to do business both within the UK and All Island economy.

“In recent years we have experienced marked improvements in our physical environment, visitor numbers, festival and cultural offering, business development and community cohesion.

“We boast a young, skilled and highly motivated workforce and a strong educational offering, making us an ideal location for investment.”

Mr Kelpie used his address to outline Council’s ‘New Vision’ for the City and District to drive economic growth by building a thriving, sustainable prosperous area with equality and opportunity for all.

Key projects within that vision include the Magee expansion project, the development of regionally significant economic sites and enhancing and improving connectivity.

While admitting that they face unique challenges post Brexit as the only city region in the UK and Ireland on an international jurisdictional border, he expressed his hope that Council’s Growth Partnership Model can continue the economic progress that has taken place in recent years.