The President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) has stressed the need for more of the same ‘collaborative vision’ that saw industries grow following the Good Friday Agreement.
Addressing more than 500 guests from business and politics at the NI Chamber Annual President’s Lunch at Belfast City Hall, Mr Healy said: “We need action on the economy, on infrastructure, on health – addressing the drastic shortage of clinical nurses, for example – or on education.
“The drift of our talented students to universities across the water or how we face issues like numeracy and literacy levels.
“However, we should be heartened by the fact that our politicians are now talking. That’s a welcome step forward. But after two years without movement of any kind, we shouldn’t expect results in a hurry.
“Nevertheless, they mustn’t waste time. So much is at stake if they don’t want history to look back on this period and say ‘they promised so much but delivered so little’.
“My advice would be don’t give up, don’t let a difficulty today ruin the vision for tomorrow. We in business and industry will give you all the encouragement you need.”
He had words of encouragement too for business leaders whose innovation and resilience are shaping the Province for a prosperous future: “Our firms are facing a future which could see some of the biggest changes to the business environment in over a generation – but they’re not sitting on their hands, waiting for something to happen.
“Northern Ireland has the potential to be a powerhouse, a place where civic society is making a difference, where the economy is growing, where our businesses are expanding and where we’re as successful at attracting FDI as we are at attracting tourists.”
Attendees at the annual lunch also heard from former head coach to the Irish national rugby team, Eddie O’Sullivan, and Gaelic football legend Pat Spillane during a Q&A session hosted by broadcaster Holly Hamilton.
The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry Annual President’s lunch was sponsored by Communications Partner BT, along with supporting sponsors Cleaver Fulton Rankin, GMcG Chartered Accountants and Dell EMC.