Connecting Local Businesses Is Focus Of NIABT Craigavon Event

The way businesses in Craigavon can work to promote local economic development was the focus of a Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) lunch today (Thursday 22 March 2012).

Pictured speaking at the event is local Upper Bann MLA Jo – Anne Dobson

The event highlighted how the NIABT can work with local business and organisations such as the local Chamber of Commerce and Craigavon Borough Council, both of which were instrumental in setting up this event.

Speaking at the lunch, local MLA and NIABT Member Jo-Anne Dobson said: “Our local businesses are central to improving the Northern Ireland economy both from an employment perspective and also by helping to rebalance our economy. The NIABT plays a vital role in bringing together local business leaders with those in political life who are in a position to bring forward policies that will help improve our economic prospects.

“In this challenging economic climate it is particularly important that MLAs take every opportunity to connect with businesses in their own constituencies and to understand the very particular issues and concerns affecting the local economy. I am delighted to have been able to take part in today’s event in Craigavon and to have met directly with local business leaders from Portadown, Lurgan, Craigavon, Gilford, Banbridge and the surrounding area.”

Pictured from l - r are: James Devlin Head of Business NI at BT and NIABT Board Member, Samuel Gardiner MLA, Robert McVeigh from Craigavon Area Learning Community, Jo - Anne Dobson MLA, Trevor Rainey Clerk Director General of the NI Assembly, Sydney Anderson MLA and Doris Kelly from Greenstone Collectibles in Craigavon.

James Devlin, Head of Business NI at BT and an NIABT Board Member was also present at today’s lunch: “As a Board Member, I am well aware of the important role that the NIABT plays in creating opportunities for mutual understanding and learning between MLAs and local businesses. The regular NIABT seminars, educational visits and briefings are instrumental in providing a platform for knowledge sharing and increased awareness.

“It is imperative that our political representatives are in a position to develop sound economic policy and legislation which will serve to help local businesses to thrive. The opportunity to network and to share experiences at an event such as this is an excellent starting point.”

The lunch attracted representatives from a large number of companies based in the local Craigavon area and gave them an opportunity to get to know and forge better working links with their MLAs.


Notes to Editors:

Craigavon NIABT Event

  • This event has been organised by the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) in conjunction with the local Chamber of Commerce and Craigavon Borough Council.
  • The MLAs in attendance at this event were Upper Bann MLAs, Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, Sydney Anderson MLA, Dolores Kelly MLA and Samuel Gardiner MLA.
  • The event was attended by 40 local business representatives.

About the NIABT
The Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) works to forge links with, and promote the exchange of knowledge and information between, local businesses and parliamentarians in Northern Ireland and in Europe. Open to businesses from all sectors and of all sizes, the NIABT organises activities including breakfast briefings, educational visits, fellowships and seminars and an annual European visit.

NIABT aims:
• to provide Assembly Members (MLAs) with a better insight into how local businesses work, helping them to make informed judgements when reviewing Department policy and legislation relating to the local economy.
• to improve the business community’s understanding of how the Assembly and devolution work and how policy and legislation is developed.

Media enquiries to:
Sinead Murphy
Deputy Communications Officer
Northern Ireland Assembly
Phone: 028 9052 5938
Mobile: 078 998 64368