Businesses from across Derry and Donegal have taken part in a cross-border speed networking event in Letterkenny.
The cross-border event at the Radisson Blu Hotel comes as traders across Donegal this week reported an increase in trade as a weakened euro and competitive offers saw an influx of shoppers from across the North taking advantage of offers of up to £1 to 1.30 euro.
Likewise traders in Derry have reported that there has a slump in the number of shoppers from across the border, many of them put off by the poor exchange rate.
This week’s speed business event was jointly hosted by the Chambers of Commerce in Derry and Letterkenny and sponsored by the City of Derry Airport. It is hoped the event will help strengthen ties between traders across the North West.
Speaking to the Journal this week, representatives from the two Chambers said that traders had reported a change in fortunes, but agreed that the region was well used to such “swings and roundabouts”.
Chief Executive of Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce Toni Forrester said: “Trade is increasing steadily. We noticed at the end of last year some people were coming over the border to buy big ticket items here, larger purchases. I think that will increase now.
“We believe people are coming from other parts of Donegal and we are getting more Inishowen people coming to shop than would have been the case traditionally.
“It’s good news for Letterkenny at the moment. It is always swings and roundabouts but this time it has been more sustained. People are feeling a wee bit more confident in their business and if we can get more business in from the North that is even better.
Sinead McLaughlin, chief executive of Derry Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile said the exchange rate “is having an impact in the trade here in the North”.
“People are not coming across the border in the numbers they have been. There has been a difference. There is also the impact of people going over the border and buying products and services in euros, petrol, in particular.
“It is also having an impact on those selling into euro markets. It’s swings and roundabouts- sometimes we are to the benefit and this time we are not, and I don’t think it has settled yet. But we are well used to having to work with these fluctuations.”
Ms McLaughlin said the chambers in Derry and Letterkenny were looking at closer co-operation “because it’s one region and we work very effectively together.”