Cross border business boost

Local business leaders have reported a “considerable” increase in trade. The news is the first real signs of an upturn in trade in three years.

The almost stagnant economy has made a dramatic improvement in 2011 according to Matthew Gleeson, of the Buncrana Chamber of Commerce.

And according to Derry businessman Luke Hasson cross border trade has increased for the first time in a number of years.

Mr. Hasson of Austin’s of the Diamond, said: “Cross border trade had been suffering due to uncertainty among consumers in the South, however that seems to have hit rock bottom and is making a return. Certainly at Austins we can report an increase in people crossing the border from Donegal to Derry to shop. Our euro sales are certainly up for the first time in years.”

Mr. Hasson, who also has business interests in Donegal, said the news there is also good. “I really think business is starting to recover, people have more confidence.”

That assessment is one shared by the Buncrana Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Gleeson who is also proprietor of Hegarty’s, Buncrana, said: “Our sales were boosted by the exchange rates and difference in VAT levels. Currently we are experiencing a tremendous increase in people shopping here from Derry. It is a good increase and one which we weren’t expecting, if we are being honest.

“That upturn started in the New year and continued into February. Traditionally, March and April are quiet but less so this year. Business from Northern Ireland is up a lot.”