DONEGAL WILL host the first in a series of cross-border Council events next week with a major conference in Burt.
The North West Region’s response to the challenges and opportunities of a Brexit will see a major boost with a conference on Tuesday next in An Grianan Hotel Burt led.
The conference will be hosted by the Councils of Donegal and Derry City & Strabane District.
This event will be the first in a series of events led by the Councils in the context of new regional co-operation arrangements for growing the North West Region which have been co-designed by the Councils with the Irish Government and NI Executive and which have received the formal support of the North South Ministerial Council.
The event will focus on the economic options and opportunities for the region as part of a regional dialogue to engage key players from many sectors to look at shared approaches to driving the growth of the region in the context of Brexit and ongoing North-South economic and infrastructural co-operation.
The conference will be attended by key stakeholders from business, academia, the public sector and a range of other agencies and organisations. The event will be opened jointly by the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr. Terence Slowey and the Mayor of Derry, Alderman Hilary McClintock with the Chief Executives of each Council presenting on the new regional co-operation model which has been developed.
Speakers will include Professor Frances Ruane from the Economic and Social Research Insitute who is also advising the Scottish Government on Brexit. Also presenting key evidence and research will be Professor Neil Gibson and Dr Eoin Magennis from Ulster University.
The event will also include a panel discussion with contributions from chambers of commerce, together with business representatives from both sides of the border and representation from organisations against Brexit.
The event is also supported by the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD), an international universities partnership of which Ulster University is a core stakeholder.
Donegal County Council Chief Executive Seamus Neely said: ‘We are delighted that the Councils are in a position to drive and co-ordinate a series of wider discussions with all regional partners, on the responses that we need to develop together to ensure that the North West Region continues to grow regardless of the challenges of Brexit.
“We are ready to take up this challenge and to provide leadership in demonstrating a model of best practice that is developing in the North West of Ireland.”
John Kelpie, Chief Executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council said: “Derry~Londonderry is the fourth largest city region on the island of Ireland and as such requires special focus, a shared purpose and focused co-operation arrangements to ensure that we can release the North West’s full potential as a net contributor to the economies of both the UK and Ireland.
“This approach is needed regardless of Brexit, and the approach of Brexit really highlights how important it is to have this partnership arrangement in place of the type that we and Central Government have worked on together in recent years and which are now in place.
“This partnership approach will allow us to deliver on our strategic objective to assist in the delivery of the Programme of Government for the benefit of the NW.”