by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

The Londonderry Chamber has welcomed Economy Minister Diane Dodds to the North West ahead of the further reopening of many more local businesses from tomorrow. The Minister met with local business representatives to hear an update ahead of the reopening of all retail, outdoor hospitality, and gyms and leisure centres from Friday 30 April.


The Minister also met with a Chamber delegation to discuss ongoing Covid support, the full reopening of the economy and, the recovery of the North West economy post-pandemic.

Londonderry Chamber President Dawn McLaughlin said:

“We welcomed the opportunity to host the Minister in the North West. We discussed a range of issues affecting the regional economy here in the North West, in particular the lifting of further Covid restrictions this week, ongoing Executive support for our hardest-hit businesses, and the recovery of the economy post-lockdown.

“It is promising to see the economy begin to reopen and there is an air of excitement and anticipation as we inch closer towards normality once again.

“We urged the Minister to continue financially supporting our businesses as they get back on their feet and until such time as they are able to trade freely and fully. We welcomed the Minister’s commitment to keep open the financial support schemes for hospitality businesses until they can fully reopen, especially as only a small percentage of our pubs and restaurants will be able to serve outdoors. We urged the Minister and the Executive to remain focused on the May 24th date of the full reopening of the hospitality and tourism sectors and we hope that everything is done to ensure that we can stick to this date.

“The Minister’s Economic Recovery Action Plan, which includes the High Street Stimulus Scheme and the Tourism Voucher Scheme as well as boosting Northern Ireland’s skills capacity and delivering a greener and more sustainable economy, will go some way to rebuilding our economy. The voucher schemes will provide a much-needed stimulus to our retail and tourism sectors, two vital areas of the North West’s economy, and we look forward to their roll-out later this summer.

“I thank Minister Dodds again for visiting the North West and I look forward to further engagements with her and her department over the coming months as we recover and rebuild.”

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Gary Middleton, MLA for Foyle; Selina Horshi, Managing Director, White Horse Hotel; Dawn McLaughlin, President, Londonderry Chamber; Paul Clancy, Chief Executive, Londonderry Chamber; Diane Dodds MLA, Minister for the Economy; and Paul Curtis, Partner, Curtis Opticians.

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