One of Derry’s leading businessmen says much more must be done to stem the tide of talented young people leaving the city to find work.
Paul Diamond, whose family-owned packaging firm employs 60 people at sites in Pennyburn and Campsie, says one of the “greatest shames” of the modern era is that so many well-educated young people are forced to leave their home town to carve out a career.
Mr. Diamond, who yesterday revealed details of the latest £3.4 million investment at his company, told the ‘Journal’ that the message had to go out that Northern Ireland was “a place to do business.”
“For this to happen, we need to see big changes,” he said. “Of course, we have the ongoing issue of Corporation Tax but, ideally, I would like to see Northern Ireland established as an enterprise zone which can offer a variety of packages to encourage inward investment and boost indigenous enterprise.
“We also need to develop our entrepreneurial spirit, particularly here in the North West which, as we know, isn’t as strong as it should be. We need more entrepreneurs and we need our schools to be much more aware of developing people for business.
“One of the greatest shames of the modern era, particularly in this part of the world, is that we are losing so many of our young, well-educated, talented people because we simply don’t have the right jobs for them. It’s crucial that we try to keep our best people.”
Diamond Corrugated’s Pennyburn plant yesterday hosted a visit by First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness who both paid tribute to the firm’s contribution to the local economy.
Mr. Robinson said the company - celebrating 40 years in business - was at the “leading edge” of its sector while Mr. McGuinness applauded its “outstanding achievements” across Ireland.