Northern Ireland Office Minister, Andrew Dunlop, has described Brexit as an opportunity for local businesses after meeting the Derry Chamber of Commerce during his first formal visit to the North this morning.
The recently appointed NIO Minister is meeting businesses, research institutions, political leaders and community groups as part of what is being described as “the UK Government’s ongoing programme of engagement with key sectors in Northern Ireland.”
He is also meeting the management of Seagate Technology in Derry,
Mr Dunlop said: “This is a moment of opportunity for businesses across Northern Ireland as we prepare to make a success of leaving the EU.”
He said that close to 10,000 new jobs have been created across Northern Ireland over the past year and pledged that with co-ordination between business and central and regional government, this trend can continue.
“Fifty five thousand more people in Northern Ireland are in work than in 2010 and 8,770 new jobs were created in the last year.
“We can build on that foundation by working together, the UK government, the Executive and business, to boost skills and open up new markets to drive greater prosperity here,” he said.
“I will be listening carefully to Northern Ireland businesses and their representatives about plans and priorities and stating clearly that the UK Government is on their side.”
It’s Mr Dunlop’s first formal engagement with Northern Ireland business before he takes a directly supporting role in the Secretary of State James Brokenshire’s Northern Ireland Business Advisory Group.
During the two-day visit he will meet staff and management from Seagate in Derry and from Thales and Queen’s University in Belfast.
A series of sector-specific meetings are further scheduled place over the coming weeks, which will be led by both the Secretary of State, and Mr Dunlop.