31/05/2002

Farren says ‘Ireland means business’

The opportunity for lucrative cross border trade between businesses North and South must be regarded as a priority for companies throughout Ireland, the Minister of Finance & Personnel, Dr Seán Farren, told guests attending a prestigious awards ceremony in Belfast.

The Minister was addressing the annual InterTradeIreland All-Island Trade Awards held on Thursday evening in the Waterfront Hall, an event also attended by the Tánaiste, Mary Harney.

More than 400 guests heard Dr Farren salute the ‘can do’ spirit of business people throughout the island of Ireland. Theirs is an approach, he said, very much endorsed by the Northern Ireland Executive as outlined in its Programme for Government:

"The Executive has pledged itself to encourage the forging of a knowledge-based economy in Northern Ireland.

"If we are to continue to make the best use of our skills we must marry the resources of industry and education to even greater effect. Our universities and colleges are recognised world wide as centres of excellence and expertise. The countries that have made the most rapid progress in economic growth and output have been the ones that understood the importance of the link between centres of education and the workplace.

"In addition, the business potential of increased co-operation North and South is recognised and encouraged in the Programme for Government which commits the Executive to fostering entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity. We are committed to enhancing the competitiveness of the two economies on this island for the benefit of all."

Tánaiste, Mary Harney said that trade between the North and South had doubled inside the last nine years, and that companies should not ignore the benefit of trade within the island of Ireland.

Dromore based construction company Graham won the All Island Trade Award, and the award for best large business and Londonderry-based Andronics won the Small Business in Northern Ireland category.

(SP)

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