Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council is developing a cross-border partnership designed to benefit the local economy.
Trade, economic prosperity, civic linkages and maintaining cross-border links were top of the agenda during a recent visit to Lagan Valley Island by a delegation from Cork County Council.
The delegation from Ireland’s largest county met local politicians including the Mayor and Chairman of Development Committee to discuss how the two councils could work together on future initiatives to strengthen economic and civic linkages on a cross-border basis.
Over the past six weeks the partnership between the two councils has flourished, with each local authority leading cross-border trade missions, which included a total of 32 companies along with civic representatives. Fifteen businesses from Lisburn and Castlereagh visited Cork in September, with 17 businesses from Cork then making the trip north. The two councils worked with Intertrade Ireland to facilitate one to one business meetings across a wide range of sectors including food, manufacturing, transportation and ICT, with initial feedback indicating new orders and deals already done as a direct result.
Local businesses that took part in the trade mission included Hollah Preserving, EquiNutritive, Itty Bitty Book Co, Concept Advertising, 2b: creative, Adgey Awnings, Believe 3d Printing, Brambleberry Jams, Cutting Industries, DevineAir Limited, Ignite IT, Luce Balloons, Superchip Sauces (NI) Limited, Extra Click and Trailblazer BBQ.
Mayor Brian Bloomfield said: “The council was delighted to host the Cork delegation, and there is no doubt the potential of developing further links with Cork County Council is unlimited, not just through the obvious trade and business links, but also the scope to foster relationships across the wider economy and community for the benefit of the city as a whole.”
Cllr Uel Mackin, Chairman of the council’s Development Committee, added: “There are a lot of synergies between the councils and I am delighted to be part of the work currently under way to develop future projects which can lead to long-term business and tourism opportunities being developed between the two council areas. The importance of cross-border trade cannot be forgotten in the forthcoming UK exit from the EU, and I’m glad to say that both councils are one step ahead in terms of maintaining these vital cross-border links, and ensuring local businesses in both areas continue to successfully trade across the border.”
Cllr Frank O’Flynn, Chair of Cork County Council’s Economic Development and Enterprise Strategic Policy Committee, thanked the Mayor and representatives of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council for the “wonderful welcome” and said he is looking forward to further engagement in the future and the development of long-term links.
Tim Lucey, Chief Executive of Cork County Council, added: “There are significant opportunities for businesses, based in both locations, to develop trade links which can only benefit all. Both councils can look forward to co-operation and knowledge sharing on a variety of projects and issues.”