Recovery and rebuild will be crucial in 2022, says Derry business leader

Selina Horshi, Chamber Vice President, and Aidan O’Kane, Chamber President.Selina Horshi, Chamber Vice President, and Aidan O’Kane, Chamber President.
Selina Horshi, Chamber Vice President, and Aidan O’Kane, Chamber President.
Recovery, rebuild and revitalisation are the watchwords for the next 12 months, the new President of Derry’s Chamber of Commerce has said.

Aidan O’Kane, a director at Northern Ireland’s largest IT company, Allstate NI, was appointed the Chamber’s 79th president at its AGM on Thursday night.

He will be supported in his role by Selina Horshi, Managing Director at the White Horse Hotel, who will be the Chamber’s Vice-President for 2022.

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In his address to members, Mr O’Kane spoke of the need for elected representatives to prioritise the North West ahead of May’s Assembly election.

He also pledged to work unwaveringly for the business community in the North West.

He added: “It goes without saying that the pandemic has had a significant and severe impact on businesses and the economy. While 2020 appeared bleak and unclear, the emergence and roll-out of the vaccines in 2021 has given us the opportunity to fully bounce back in 2022.

“Our region is on the cusp of something special. There’s an energy and optimism among colleagues, among key stakeholders, and among businesses to lift up the North West. We are fast approaching the next Assembly election and it’s crucial that our local elected representatives, new ministers, and the incoming NI Executive recognise this and commit to doing all they can to positively develop our region during the next mandate.

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“I am excited to get to grips with my new role and I will be working extremely hard over the next year to help make sure that local businesses succeed in a successful North West.”

Outgoing president Dawn McLaughlin said that, despite the challenges of both Brexit and Covid-19, the past year had seen great successes, with high points being the sign-off of the City Deal, the long-awaited opening of the Graduate Entry Medical School at Magee and the announcement of the £70m Health Hub at Fort George.

She added: “When things have been at their toughest, we have often been at our best, and the sense of community, camaraderie and support among members has been genuinely inspiring to see.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our members, recognising the lengths they have gone to in protecting their people and their businesses, and I commend them for all they have done for our community during the pandemic.”