Economy Minister visits Lisburn

The Economy Minister Diane Dodds paid a visit to Lisburn city centre last Friday (April 23) as close contact services were preparing to reopen after lockdown restrictions were eased.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 9:05 am
Economy Minister Diane Dodds and Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson with staff from the Running Bubble
Economy Minister Diane Dodds and Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson with staff from the Running Bubble

The Minister was welcomed to the city by Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and took the opportunity to meet with a number of local businesses.

Mrs Dodds visited Natural Hair Company, where she spoke with owner Martine Broggy as she welcomed clients back to the salon.

“This has been a difficult time for many traders and businesses across Northern Ireland,” said the Minister.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds with Colin Patterson of Smyth Patterson in Market Square

“However, we are turning a corner. While we still have some ground to cover to return to complete normality, today’s reopening of close contact services and other easements of restrictions such as the re-opening of outdoor visitor attractions and activity centres is another positive next step towards better days ahead.

“Northern Ireland is now in a much better place than it was three months ago and we should keep looking forward.

“It is my priority to drive economic recovery and the re-opening of all business is so important to achieving this.

“Of course, every one of us can play our part in making this happen.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds chats to Lorraine Calvert as she settles down to get her hair done with Natural Hair Company owner Martine Brogg

“It is important that anyone availing of these services from today adheres to the guidance to ensure a safe as well as an enjoyable experience.

“I know men and women up and down the country have been counting the days until they could get their hair done! So, it is wonderful to see these services back.”

On a brief tour of her salon, Martine Broggy outlined for the Minister the safety measures she has put in place in preparation for the return of clients. These include, temperature checks, taking bookings by appointment only, sanitisation points, face coverings and PPE for her team.

Welcoming the Minister, Ms Broggy said: “We’d like to thank the Minister for visiting Natural Hair Company today to see for herself the measures we have put in place to reopen safely.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds and Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson with Jonathan Ritchie of Geek Retreat.

“My team and I have received so many message of support recently and it is so heartening to know that our clients are delighted to see us back at work.

“We have been waiting for this day for some time and we are so excited to get started.”

Later in the morning, the Minister also took the opportunity to visit a number of other businesses in the city including department store Smyth Patterson, food retailer Greens of Lisburn, sportswear retailer The Running Bubble and The Geek Retreat.

Speaking after the visit, Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: “I was delighted to have the Economy Minister visit Lisburn city centre last Friday morning, which was the day on which close contact services such as hairdressers and beauty salons were able to open.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds with Kenny Bradley of Greens of Lisburn

“During her visit she met with a number of business representatives and visited business persons in the city centre. She was able to hear first-hand the challenges our local businesses are faced with at this time.

“She also had a briefing by myself and the Chamber of Commerce and this obviously was very useful in acquainting the Minister with the difficulties and the opportunities that exist at this time.

“I was particularly pleased that the Minister visited new businesses which have opened and I think this is a sign that whilst there has been a number of difficulties in the past year, people are still willing to invest in Lisburn and see the opportunities presented by the city.

“I will be following up with this visit and having further discussions about the support Mrs Dodd’s_____ Department can provide to local businesses.”