‘City Deal can offset our Brexit exposure’

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The newly-appointed Chair of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants has described Derry as the most exposed city in Ireland as a result of Brexit.

Clodagh Hegarty, a lecturer at Ulster University, said Brexit was casting doubt on Derry’s prospects and needed to be addressed. She called for the immediate introduction of a ‘City Deal’ to offset the projected damaging effects of Derry’s imminent departure from the European Union.

She said: “The North West is producing some of the most talented and skilled graduates anywhere in the UK, with many undoubtedly having the capability of starting businesses and creating employment.

“However, with the uncertainty regarding the Brexit process and a very finely balanced economy dependent on a small number of revenue generating sectors which are being directly threatened by the Brexit process, many of those young people will unfortunately not be starting those businesses in Derry or its surrounding area. They will be travelling to Dublin, London and other EU cities to achieve their business goals. To help address this challenge with the region so exposed to the current uncertainty, I would call on all those with influence to provide businesses and the next generation of entrepreneurs with re-assurances and support by immediately introducing an economic stimulus through the proposed ‘City Deal’.”

Small businesses are anxious to avoid a haemorraghing of talent, she added.

“If political stakeholders do not address this issue, there will be a lost opportunity and lost generation within the North West.”