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Magazine of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

ISSUE 5

£2.20/€3.00

FOCUS ON Brexit and the North West Chamber News Annual Business Awards

NORTH WEST CONNECTIONS Translink talks Transport Plans with CEO Chris Conway


Official government fuel consumption figures in mpg (litres per 100km) for the E-Class Saloon range: urban 24.1(11.7)65.7(4.3), extra urban 37.2(7.6)-78.5(3.6), combined 31.0(9.1)-134.5(2.1). CO2 emissions 207-49 g/km. Official EUregulated test data are provided for comparison purposes and actual performance will depend on driving style, road conditions and other non-technical factors.

The E-Class Saloon from £368* per month. Built around your business. Packed with intelligent features, the E-Class Saloon is the car to take your business forward in the connected world. And it’s available now with our latest competitive offers at Mercedes-Benz Northern Ireland. Visit us at Mercedes-Benz of Portadown or Mercedes-Benz of Belfast. Model featured is an E 220 d SE Saloon at £37,300 on-the-road including optional metallic paint at £645 (on-the-road price includes VAT, delivery, 12 months’ Road Fund Licence, number plates, first registration fee and fuel). *Business users only. Mercedes-Benz Contract Hire agreement. All rentals exclude VAT at 20%. No ownership option. Vehicle conditions, excess mileage and other charges may be payable. Rental includes Road Fund Licence for the contract duration. Guarantees may be required. Orders/credit approvals on selected E-Class Saloon models between 1 April and 30 June 2017, registered by 30 September 2017 excluding Mercedes-AMG models. Subject to availability, offers cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Some combinations of features/options may not be available. Credit subject to status by Mercedes-Benz Finance, MK15 8BA.

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contents 6 President’s Message 22 Cover Story

North West Connections Chris Conway, CEO, Translink

24 News

Boston Trade Mission Applicants Sought

26 Brexit and the North West 40 City of Derry Airport

From Derry to London

44 50 52 56 66

Tourism Collaboration at its Best

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Appointments section James Nesbitt at the President’s Lunch north west Business Awards 2017 Welcome to the Chamber

How the Chamber can help you?

70 Gadgets for Work and Home 72 Restaurant Review

Hitting the nail on the head

74 Executive Motoring 78 the Final Word – Brian John Spencer

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CONNECTED, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce’s full colour publication. Designed and produced by business people for business people. Distributed to businesses across the North West.

CONNECTED Magazine Editor Jackie Logan Editorial Assistants Darryl Campbell Amy McGuckian Content Editors Sinead McLaughlin Carol Kelly Motoring Correspondent Darryl Campbell Production & Design Big Moo Design

Bubbles and Brexit

Welcome to the Spring/Summer edition of CONNECTED. It would seem there’s not much else to discuss – other than Brexit! When you get into a conversation, it bubbles up to the surface and it’s back in the mix of one discussion or another. With EU’s top negotiator, Michel Barnier, visiting the border in May as well as addressing a joint session of the Irish houses of parliament in Dublin he was noted to have said that the “UK’s departure from the EU would have consequences,” and that the Irish border issue would be one of his three priorities in negotiations, emphasising that custom controls were part of the EU border management. Since the result of the Brexit vote, the Chamber has been inundated by media calls and visits from across Europe as well as been asked to all sorts of events, from the Whitehouse to Number 10, to air their views and concerns. During that time the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce has been the North West’s strong voice on the behalf of its membership on all matters not least Brexit.

Advertising Mary Miller

CONNECTED is a good summation of these last six months. It is full of opinion, analysis and news, as well as, a few key business leaders’ thoughts on Brexit.

Email addresses connected@naked-pr.com mary@londonderrychamber.co.uk

It is also a good reminder that regardless of what is happening politically (the lack of an assembly and a general election), that businesses continue to thrive, make plans and look after their customers and employees. One only had to look around the room full of winners and finalists at the North West Business Awards at the Everglades Hotel in May to see the wealth of talent that there is in the North West. Congratulations to all!

Front Cover Image Mark Jamieson

Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

Chief Executive Sinead McLaughlin

It’s worth mentioning our cover story too; Translink has many plans afoot, with the Chamber at the forefront calling for better infrastructure and connectivity, it’s good to see the many planned changes to routes and infrastructure across the City and to Belfast and beyond. This, along with the new BMI route to London from the City of Derry Airport, bodes very well indeed for businesses in the North West.

Business Operations Manager Carol Kelly

I don’t want to burst your bubble but there’s more happening in the North West than you would expect!

Membership Recruitment Officer Mary Miller

Enjoy the magazine.

President George Fleming

Membership Services Executive Shauna Buchanan Membership Services Executive Grainne McLaughlin Membership Services Executive Laverne O’Donnell

Jackie Logan Editor

Chamber Patrons

t: 028 7126 2379 w: londonderrychamber.co.uk   Follow us on:          Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the publisher accepts no responsibility for omissions or errors within this publication. Editorial submissions are included at the discretion of the editor. The opinions expressed in articles within this publication are not necessarily those of the Chamber. All offers, promotions and competitions appearing in Connected are the sole responsibility of the advertiser/promoting party and Londonderry Chamber of Commerce does not accept any responsibility for any representations made within them.

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE In this first year of Brexit negotiations, I am very proud to be representing the North West Business community as the President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce for 2017. My chosen theme and priority for my year in office will be to continue to encourage entrepreneurial growth of indigenous businesses and promote business development in the North West region. We have endured a lot of uncertainty during the past 12 months with the impending exit of United Kingdom from the EU. As a result the Chamber has been heavily involved at all levels of government in the UK and the ROI, lobbying for our unique situation in the North West, as well as engaging with many European media organisations. As the Brexit situation develops, I along with the Chamber will continue to lobby for the free movement of people and a soft border control with a view to assisting our members in the North West. The entrepreneurial development of new products, services and companies can only flourish if there is good leadership. With many exemplary companies in this city, I have instigated an Entrepreneurship in Action programme of visits to various companies in the city. Visits to date have included; AE Global, Learning Pool, Fleming Agri and Airporter. These are all very diverse businesses, which display strong leadership and excellent teamwork in their operations. These events have been very well attended and feedback has been tremendous. This region has a wealth of talented innovative companies developing products and services, which distribute nationally and globally.

For our indigenous and foreign direct investment businesses to grow and develop, we need a continuous flow of skilled labour feeding into our society at all levels. We have a primary and secondary education system feeding into the North West Regional College and the Ulster University Campus at Magee, but this needs to be more career and job focussed to our local employment needs. The most important raw material needed for our economy to grow is skilled labour. It is my intention to get local businesses more engaged with the Regional College and the University at Magee to develop skills that are directly related to their local employment requirements. We need our local schools promoting the career opportunities that are available in our local businesses and we need our local business community engaging with the educational institutions so that the correct talent is being directed to the correct skills which result in long term careers and employment for local people. Leo Murphy and Samantha Traynor, the principal and deputy from the NWRC are committed to meeting the needs of local employers and both are a remarkable breath of fresh air. The commitment from Vice Chancellor, Paddy Nixon, to expand Magee’s student numbers and the establishment of an Engineering faculty and Graduate Entry Medical School in Derry is also to be welcomed. Regarding infrastructure, the Chamber and I will continue to lobby for improved connectivity to and from the region, at last the upgrading

of the A6 at Moneynick has started which will reduce some congestion in that area. The Derry to Coleraine railway line is now upgraded and we are soon to get an hourly service between Derry and Belfast six days a week. This will be a great tool for the tourism industry and will no doubt help to boost the visitor numbers to the city and the North West.

McLaughlin, and her hardworking team.

Having lived on both sides of the border in the North West all of my life, I am delighted to be offered this chance to lead the Chamber and work with the Chief Executive, Sinead

So for now it’s onwards and upwards!

We are moving forward, yet when we look at the distance we have to travel to get to our destination, it looks a mighty long way away. However, when we stop and look back at how far we have come, we have made such amazing progress.

George Fleming George Fleming

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NEWS

Nicholl Fuel Oils Group Take Over Topaz Energy’s Home Heating Oil

Derry Jobs Boost Bemis, the American packaging company has announced it is creating up to 95 jobs in Londonderry over the next five years. The positions will be IT and finance and will be based at its new European Business Centre in Campsie. The company makes flexible and rigid plastic packaging for food, consumer products and pharmaceutical companies around the world. It already has a healthcare packaging manufacturing facility in Campsie.

Local company, Nicholl Fuel Oils Group is to take over Topaz Energy’s homeheating oil arm in Northern Ireland. Greysteel-based familyrun company Nicholl Oils was founded more than 50 years ago and has grown to become Northern Ireland’s largest independent oil distributor employing almost 200 people. Topaz’s home-heating business employs 55 staff, including 35 based in Northern Ireland, all of whom will transfer to the new owners. The southern arm of the home-heating business will be taken over by Capital Oil Supplies, a fuel distribution business based in Dublin. It comes around two years after Topaz was acquired by Canadian Group Alimentation CoucheTard. Nicholls also owns fuel distribution firms Oil Trans, Fleet Diesel and Berngar as well as Web Oil and Brobot Fuels in England and Wales. The acquisition is the latest deal in the energy sector in Northern Ireland after LCC Group, based in Cookstown, bought the Cloghan Point Oil Terminal in Co Antrim from AES.

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Invest NI said the company has been offered £695,000 of government funding to help with recruitment and a pre-employment training programme, based at the Northwest Regional College. Invest NI CEO Alastair Hamilton said; “Bemis Company makes a valuable contribution to Northern Ireland’s vibrant Life Sciences industry, employing over 200 staff at its manufacturing facility. This investment to establish its European Business Services Centre here is a significant coup.” Recruitment for the jobs has already begun and will continue over the next few years. Bemis is looking for motivated graduates and individuals with HNDs or degrees in Derry to apply for their Global Business Service Academy. To help recruit for these roles, Bemis recently

Marty Scaminaci, Bemis Vice President of Global Business Services with Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI CEO.

launched an application process for its five-week academy to equip participants with the skills required to fulfil business financial service roles in its new Centre. The five-week academy, supported by the Department for the Economy and delivered in partnership with the Northwest Regional College, will see successful participants gain industry recognised qualifications. Marty Scaminaci, Bemis Vice President of Global Business Services commented; “Establishing our European Business Services Centre is a strategic investment to help drive efficiencies and standardise our processes. “The availability of skilled graduates in the area, engagement of local council representatives, and the support offered from Invest NI were all critical factors in our decision to locate this centre in Northern Ireland. We have successfully operated a manufacturing facility in Northern Ireland since 1996 and know it to be a great location to do business.”

New restoration and retail plans for Austin’s An application to restore and refurbish Derry’s historic Austin’s building has been lodged with planners. The application, on behalf of the Austin’s Regeneration Trust Limited, is for the refurbishment and restoration of a vacant Listed Building with proposed new rear extension to upper floors. It is planned to restore the building to its former glory, both internally and externally. The ground floor dual fronted shop front is to be re-designed with tradition materials, with corrective work to the façade, retaining all elements of the ornate building. The application also proposes a change of use from fourth floor offices to retail

floor space. Austin’s closed its doors in March 2016 after the company operating the department store went into administration, with the loss of over 50 jobs. The store, which opened in Derry in 1830, had been one of the oldest operating in Europe until it closed. Paul Durnien from Durniern Surveyors, who has also been involved in several other large scale regeneration projects in the same area, said they hoped to get through the planning stage by the end of the summer. “This will be a real catalyst for

The Diamond area and a single destination retailer for that area,” he said. “We want to restore the building’s façade back to what it was and internally reinstate the feature staircase. We want to bring it back to its former glory.” Work at the building is due to start as soon as approval is secured, and is expected to take between six and nine months to complete.


Electric Ireland sends ‘Gas to the West’

Gabriel D’Arcy, CEO, LacPatrick Artigarvan along with Clare McAllister, Sales and Marketing Manager, Electric Ireland.

SMEs and larger businesses in the North West received a significant economic boost this month with the announcement that natural gas is being supplied to the sector across the ‘Gas to the West’ (GttW) project, for the first time. Electric Ireland, part of the ESB Group, was announced as the first supplier to provide energy via the new £250M pipeline, which brings natural gas to most of the main towns in the west, with the company now becoming the only gas supplier to operate in all three gas distribution networks. Following a seven month competitive process Electric Ireland won a £2.2M annual contract to supply major international dairy co-operative, LacPatrick Dairies with natural gas. The partnership will see Electric Ireland providing approximately 90million kWh of energy every year to power LacPatrick’s site at Atigarvan, including its new €40m milk drying facility. The completion of the GttW project represents one of the largest infrastructural investments in the region for many years and presents businesses as well as households with the opportunity to avail of natural gas, for the first time, driving both economic and social benefits and supporting businesses’ energy efficiency.

Commenting on Electric Ireland’s contract with LacPatrick and the opportunity the GttW project presents to a range of businesses, Claire McAllister, Sales and Marketing Manager at Electric Ireland, said, “We are delighted to be the first supplier of gas on the first phase of the GttW project. Natural Gas is a key focus for Electric Ireland and this contract, the largest single-site contract on the island of Ireland, underpins our commitment to grow our market share in the Northern Ireland gas sector becoming a leader in dual fuel supply “The GttW project enables businesses of all size to avail of the natural gas offering, providing the opportunity to improve energy efficiency, enhance competitiveness and support the potential for economic growth. “At Electric Ireland we work closely with businesses throughout that process. We know that they want affordable energy and control over their energy costs and we offer them real, valuable support, providing access to day-to-day account management services and expert advice. “For the first time, for businesses in the North West, we are looking forward to natural gas being part of that process.”

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NEWS

Sara Ryan: The

Youngest COO in Ireland

Local influencer helps put local businesses on the world stage

She’s easily spotted amongst the corporate hues of the business world, usually adorned with the best and brightest outfit in the room, but make no mistake, Sara Ryan, Chief Operating Officer, Junk Kouture, is a colourful force to be reckoned with. Junk Kouture is a national contest which encourages young people in second level education to create striking couture designs and impressive works of wearable art from everyday junk that would normally find its way into the bin. Junk Kouture has established itself as the premier recycled fashion competition for teenagers throughout Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. At just 23, Sara took the helm of Junk Kouture’s Irish and European operations and has since successfully steered it to new and dizzying heights of expansion and growth, climaxing in the competition’s biggest ever ‘Grand Final’ in April of this year. Unapologetically, Sara revealed; “Occasionally I’m aware that people might perceive my age to be surprising, but when I walk into a meeting I make sure I’m one of the most informed people in there. I know this brand inside and out and I’ve watched it develop since joining the company as an intern during my degree.” However, overcoming ageism isn’t Sara’s biggest challenge. Pulling off a 5,000 attendee-strong annual event in the 3arena in Dublin largely occupies her time, as well as the company’s expansion into the Scottish Market. Sara credits her boss Troy Armour with the opportunity of a life time stating; “I’m immensely fortunate that I work for someone who doesn’t see age as a barrier to success. Sometimes all you need is for someone to believe in you and that all makes the difference.”

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Stephen Clarke, local influencer and leader, has recently partnered with successful local embroidery Partridge Pear Tree and will be showcasing his talents at a leadership and management conference in Los Angeles, Southern California, where he will be wearing his branded clothing supplied by Partridge Pear Tree, to network and team up with some of the most talented and future influencers of the world. Stephen is working with businesses in the North West with the aim of helping their business grow and devising personal development programmes. A professional engineer by trade, Stephen has been a great ambassador for the local universities, colleges and

Stephen said; “I have been working with a range of companies in the North West including the health care, construction and engineering sectors and have helped them through product development, branding and customer service by advising on implementing lean strategies to enable their business to operate more proactively and efficiently.“

Only the Best farming equipment for the Best farming family in Ireland Fleming Agri Products was delighted to welcome top Ireland, Ulster and Lions rugby player Rory Best and his dad John for a tour of its Newbuildings manufacturing factory. The Bests were very impressed with the set up at the factory, both in terms of operations and the quality and the range of the Fleming’s agricultural machinery.

Sara Ryan, Chief Operations Officer, Junk Kouture.

young people of the Northern Ireland, in particular the North West area. With being involved in STEM and Sentinus programmes, Ulster Project, local charities and his role as the face for young people of Northern Ireland for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Stephen has influenced young people by encouraging them to achieve goals that many would deem unrealistic.

It was great for Rory to get a chance to catch up with one of his old pals, one of the Fleming’s employees Graeme Park. Graeme, who heads up pre-production at the factory, is also an avid Aberdeen Angus cattle breeder and is proud that he supplied Rory with one of his first Aberdeen Angus heifers to help him establish his herd. Rory was so impressed with what he saw

Rory Best pictured with George Fleming during his recent visit to Fleming Agri Products.

on the visit that he was unable to resist purchasing one of the latest editions to the Fleming product portfolio the 10ft Superfloat Topper. So Best of luck to Rory for the upcoming Lions tour, a true gentleman, a fantastic sportsman and a proud ambassador for our region.


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NEWS

Funding allocated for Youth Employment Projects Over £200,000 has been awarded to two Derry projects aiming to help young people develop skills and gain employment. The funding has been allocated by the International Fund for Ireland. A grant of £100,049 has been secured by Creggan Enterprises Ltd for a one-year project, entitled Lifehack. This will engage 20 young people aged between 16 and 25 who have left education with no or low qualifications, or who left the education system early and who face a range of challenges in life.

Operating in the Creggan, Brandywell and Bogside areas of the city, the project aims to improve individual situations through a range of tailored activities including accredited and non-accredited training.

Pictured at the International Fund for Ireland Board Meeting in County Donegal are Board Members: Billy Gamble, Paddy Harte, Dr Adrian Johnston (Chairman of the Fund), Dorothy Clarke, Allen McAdam, Siobhan Fitzpatrick and Hilary Singleton. Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography.

St Columb’s Park Reconciliation Trust meanwhile have been awarded £112,530 for a one-year project called ‘How We Tell our Story’.

to access improved opportunities through learning, leadership and employment.

The initiative aims to build the capacity of marginalised young people through the development of life skills, thinking skills and confidence to enable them

The projects are among 22 identified across Ireland by the International Fund for Ireland to receive a share of £2.6m in funding.

BROWNS RESTAURANT & CHAMPAGNE LOUNGE NAMED ‘BEST RESTAURANT’ FOR EIGHTH TIME For the eighth consecutive year, Browns Restaurant & Champagne Lounge has been named ‘Best Restaurant in Derry’ at the Restaurants Association of Ireland Awards. A labour of love for the team headed up by Chef Patron Ian Orr and Marcus Roulston, the award comes in a year when the restaurant is also enjoying the title of the current ‘Best Restaurant In Ulster’. Marcus Roulston, Browns Restaurant Group, said: “It’s remarkable to be named ‘Best Restaurant in Derry’ for the eighth year in a row. When we opened our doors with our fine dining restaurant in 2009 we were the

first team to offer the people of Derry~Londonderry and beyond a unique gastronomical experience. “We take great pride in being the catalyst to putting Derry~ Londonderry on the ‘foodie map’ and won ‘Best Restaurant in Ulster’ for the first time during the UK City of Culture year.” Browns Restaurant & Champagne Lounge has been a firm fixture on the foodie map since 2009, offering customers a variety of dining options from wine dinners to afternoon tea, Sunday Lunch to midweek foodie offers and much more. For further details, log onto www.brownsrestaurant.com.

Browns Restaurant & Champagne Lounge chef Ian Orr.

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Further information about all the beneficiaries from the International Fund for Ireland’s latest funding package is available at the International Fund for Ireland’s website: www. internationalfundforireland. com

29 new jobs for Rural Business Investment Scheme Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership has awarded funding which will create 29 new jobs in the rural area through the roll out of its second call of the Rural Business Investment Scheme as part of the NI Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. The Rural Business Investment Scheme was the first scheme to open in 2016/17 with grants of £323,000 awarded to nine businesses in September 2016, and the creation of 15.5 jobs. This second call for funding opened last October and grants of over £470,000 have now been awarded to eight projects, creating 29 new jobs in the rural community. Among those businesses successful in securing funding were the City of Derry Equestrian Centre at Ardmore, Ardstraw Quarries at Victoria Bridge, Devine Memorials at Plumbridge, Foyle Golf Centre at Culmore, Greg Mitchell Motors at Victoria Bridge, Oakfire Adventures in Derry, Sayers Engineering, Castlederg and Tiny Tots Day Care in Sion Mills. The NI Rural Development Programme is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the European Union. Pictured at Enterprise Week 2017 event are Janene and Gareth Sayers from Sayers Engineering (successful applicant to the Rural Business Investment Scheme) along with members of the Council’s Rural Development team.


NEWS

Connected Health to create 120 news jobs in NW Connected Health has unveiled plans to create 120 new jobs in the North West this year. The health and social care provider, which established operations in the Western Health and Social Care Trust area in November of last year, currently employs 65 staff in the region. An intensified recruitment drive by the company is to increase staffing levels to 185 in the trust area by the end of the year. The new posts will include roles in care provision, administration, management and the operation of Connected Health’s innovative new Virtual Care Centre. Connected Health, which was established in Belfast in 2013, delivers a range of health and wellbeing services to older people and vulnerable adults across Northern Ireland. The company currently employs 230 staff, delivering 6,700 hours of care per week, in excess of 70,000 physical care interactions each year and a host of training and technology offerings. Connected Health Director Ryan Williams said the growth of the business in the North West in recent months has been “rapid”. “We have an unequalled standard of services to offer clients in the North West and the growth of our business illustrates the great need for our style of care provision in the area. “Our in-house developed technology solutions such as Pill Plug, our Hospital to Home Service and our Connected Care Training Academy provide an unrivalled level of responsiveness to needs locally. “In the North West we will recruit between 10 to 15 new staff per month until at least the end of 2017 to cope with rising demand.”

Experience Part-Time Learning with NWRC North West Regional College has announced details of the Part-Time Courses it will offer across the College starting from September 2017. The Course information is now available to view online at www. nwrc.ac.uk/parttime, providing details of the hundreds of part-time courses on offer at the College’s Strabane, Derry~Londonderry, Springtown, Greystone and Limavady campuses. With short introductory programmes through to Higher Education and professional development courses, those who wish to improve their qualifications or develop a new skill will find something to suit. The College offers special reduced fees for those receiving particular benefits, to make its courses as accessible as possible to those on all levels of income. Those claiming the reduced fee are reminded to bring their benefit evidence when enrolling. For those who have been out of education for some time, returning to learning may be a daunting prospect, but with its fantastic new facilities and student support

services, the College aims to make the learning experience as positive as possible for learners of all ages. The Strand Road Campus boasts industry standard facilities across all its curriculum areas with dedicated resources to ensure students are learning in appropriate settings, for example the teaching kitchens for hospitality and catering, stunning new hair and beauty salons open to the public, workshops for engineering and construction, IT labs for computing courses, the TV and Radio media studios, art and design studios, music recording and practice spaces, and of course a fully-equipped 150 seat theatre. For those unsure of which course will help them fulfil their personal ambitions the College provides support and guidance with dedicated Careers and Student Services staff on hand both before enrolment and during your time at the College. The full list of programmes commencing at the College this September can be viewed on the College website: www.nwrc.ac.uk/parttime, or if you would like a copy sent to you please email info@nwrc.ac.uk.

Connected Health has built strong working relationships with the Western Trust and other healthcare stakeholders in the North West. Mr Williams added: “The Western Health and Social Care Trust has been a strong and engaged partner since we began our delivery of services. In addition, the quality of staff we have attracted and our management team in the North West have been second to none. “Furthermore, our training approach engages staff within a ‘lifelong’ career ladder approach. Our unique and valued partnership with the North West College has delivered region-wide development training ranging from NVQ levels 3-5 in Health and Social Care to our co-delivered Dementia Champions Programme.”

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Tracey Carlin & Emma Steenson who started a Part-Time Access Diploma in Combined Course a few years ago and were celebrated as joint winners of the course’s highest marks award at the College’s 2016 Graduation. Enrolments open 18 May all campuses.


SPONSORED FEATURE

Sparkling Future in sight for Sproules Jewellers Sproules Jewellers has been serving the city for well over 50 years and is still very much a family business being established in 1954 by WJ Sproule and now run by his son Nigel. CONNECTED caught up with Managing Director, Nigel Sproule, to find out more about how the business has evolved and what the future holds. “The business model today looks a million miles away from those humble beginnings in John Street. We have evolved significantly from the repair and restoration of watches to a bespoke jewellery and gem specialist, although our ethos remains unchanged, to be customer focused and only source and make products of quality. “I have spent the last number of years building a strong team around me and I’m very fortunate to have dedicated staff members, all of whom are passionate about what they do, who have really helped drive the business forward. “We travel regularly together to trade exhibitions to choose ranges for the next season, keeping abreast of industry changes and looking at how we can continuously improve our offering to customers. By constantly searching for the next big name brand, this has had a positive impact on our success to date with a drive in footfall, particularly with our younger customer, resulting in an uplift in sales. “The growth of the business has allowed us more purchasing power and exposed new markets to us that would have been out of reach 20 years ago. We have built relationships with some of the industry’s finest suppliers worldwide. I was privileged to be the only jeweller from Ireland invited by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Retail Jeweller to visit one of the world’s largest gem and jewellery exhibitions in Hong Kong for the past two years in a row. “We have experienced the benefits of investing in specialised computer software to streamline and analyse the business and enable online sales which is not something my father nor I would

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We have built relationships with some of the industry’s finest suppliers worldwide. have envisaged 30 years ago. Our new website, which will enable mobile purchasing with added click and collect facility, will be live in the coming weeks and will give customers an online experience that mirrors the one in store. “This will also integrate with our social media, which is a very new world to me! We have had great engagement with over 60,000 customers locally who took part in a recent promotion whereby they could win a variety of fantastic jewellery prizes. “It’s a very interesting time in high street retailing; we have adapted to online purchases driven by the millennial and we’re worrying about Brexit and the uncertainty it creates. In addition, there’s been a general slowdown in the economy and a drop in footfall. However, there is a new breed of customer growing up, the centennials, ‘Gen Z’ for short, born after 1995 and the first generation who can’t remember a

time without technology. They might be more digitally advanced but research by IBM has shown that they would still rather shop in store than online. They most likely research your store online first and also share their purchasing experience online. “To help continue to steer Sproules towards a continued bright future, we are very excited to be working on our new store, due to open in 2018. It will comprise of 2,500 sq. feet of an ‘in store experience’ aimed at complementing our existing customer service and attracting the new generation of customer. “Without giving too much away, we will incorporate our new building into the design giving us two floors of stunning curved windows with specific areas for fine jewellery, bridal jewellery, watches and fashion brands. Our new store will reflect the need for a personable and bespoke customer experience and showcase all that Sproules has to offer.”


CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S UPDATE

Chief Executive’s Update Sinead McLaughlin talks about Chamber life these past six months in the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. Since our last magazine it has been a challenging six months and it has been very interesting and very rewarding six months too. I was very privileged to find myself in Number 10 Downing Street on International Women’s Day, where I got an opportunity to discuss the UK decision to leave the European Union with the Prime Minister, Theresa May. I explained that as a Cross Border City region the impact of border controls would have a severe impact on not only the economy but also the quality of life in general.

Sinead McLaughlin, Chief Executive, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce speaking to Theresa May, Prime Minister.

The Northern Ireland delegation were hosted for lunch in the State Department.

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I also got invited to Washington to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in the White House. I was part of a wider business delegation who were there to promote Northern Ireland as a great place to do business. Ann McGregor, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber and I had the opportunity to engage with senior people involved in the Washington Ireland Programme, the State Department, the Northern Ireland Bureau, as well as attend the reception at the White House, which was a very grand affair and included addresses by the Vice President, Mike Pence, the President Donald Trump and the An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. Later Ann and I spoke to the Taoiseach and the Irish Ambassador, Ann Anderson.


CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S UPDATE

Ann McGregor, Chief Executive NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Sinead McLaughlin, Chief Executive Londonderry Chamber of Commerce at the White House.

Both the President and Vice President of the Chamber found themselves engaging with a number of key stakeholders, including UK, Irish and NI permanent representations, main political groupings and Committee Chairs, some of the EU’s negotiating team, influential think tanks and some of our local and Irish MEPs in Brussels in early May. They also had the chance to listen to those shaping the Article 50 negotiations on how they plan to deal with the specific problems Brexit causes Northern Ireland. They, like I, have on every occasion, ensured that our voice was heard.

George Fleming, President and Jennifer McKeever, Vice President, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.

Where possible we’ve engaged and discussed the differentials of a hard and soft border and the consequences of that on our local businesses, on our local economy and on both sides of the border. Continuous engagement leaves us better placed to propose and influence solutions particularly around customs arrangements, labour mobility and market and regulatory access which are fair to the EU and the UK and give some hope and certainty for firms locally to invest for the long term and creating jobs. The Chamber will continue to engage. Brexit aside, business has continued as near as normal. George Fleming, the President,

introduced a series of networking events entitled ‘Entrepreneurship in Action’, sponsored by First Trust Bank. The network surrounding an entrepreneur is intrinsically important to successful entrepreneurial activity. With this in mind this series aims to bring people together to create a supportive and informative network encouraging the sharing of experiences and knowledge. With events at Fleming Agri, AE Global and Airporter, all were deemed a great success where much was learnt from each of the very different business owners and directors. Thank you to each of those companies for supporting these events and the Chamber and to sponsors First Trust Bank.

George Fleming, President and Jennifer McKeever, Vice President, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce with delegates in Brussels.

There is no doubt in my mind that the EU has been good for the Northern Ireland economy – removing borders, supporting peace building, regenerating towns and cities, opening access to an all-island and pan-European economy and more. Whilst there are efforts from the UK and Irish Governments to ensure Northern Ireland specific issues are articulated, the absence of agreement at Stormont has left many, particularly those in business, deeply concerned.   There has never been a more important time to listen, engage, learn, build relationships and directly communicate about how we can avoid harm and make a success of Brexit for Northern Ireland, the UK and the EU. The Chamber’s work has never been more important than it is now and in the next few months and years as we journey through the unknown.

Entrepreneurship in Action site visit to Fleming Agri, Gavin Killeen, NuPrint Technology, George Fleming, Managing Director of Fleming Agri, Sinead McLaughlin CEO Chamber of Commerce, Edel Griffin MBA Course Director, Ulster University Business School

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CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S UPDATE

A series of business development workshops, sponsored by BDO Ireland, was also put together and held in February and April. Focusing on communication skills for sales personnel, understanding finance, refocusing on core messages and a marketing strategy and succession planning for family owned businesses. This series delved into the nuts and bolts needed to run a company. An Employers Breakfast meeting at the Ulster University in February, was held in partnership with Ulster University as part of their Work Experience and Entrepreneurship week the title of this event was ‘Economic Outlook and Managing Brexit’.

George Fleming, Chamber President, Gareth Hetherington, Associate Director, Ulster University Economic Policy Centre, Michael Gallagher, Strategy Manager DCSDC.

Professor Liam Maguire, Executive Dean of Ulster University addressing attendees.

The President’s Lunch mid February also featured keynote speaker James Nesbitt, which was superbly attended. But enough about that as it is covered elsewhere in the magazine. At the beginning of March we launched the 2017 North West Business Awards with principal sponsor Bank of Ireland UK. This event brought together past winners, Chamber members, potential applicants and award sponsors too.

Hugh Hegarty, Chairman City Centre Initiative, Eugene Kearney, Commercial Bank Manager Bank of Ireland, Christine Graham, Senior Business Manager, Bank of Ireland, George Fleming, President Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

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James Nesbitt, George Fleming, President of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Sinead McLaughlin, Chief Executive, Chamber of Commerce.

Kieran O’Connor, Managing Director, AE Global, James Nesbitt, Mayor Alderman Hilary McClintock, George Fleming, President of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Sinead McLaughlin, Chief Executive, Chamber of Commerce, Liam Gallagher, CEO of AE Global


CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S UPDATE

In March, there was a speed networking event, held at the Maldron Hotel and sponsored by the City of Derry Airport and a Meet the Buyer in the City Hotel, which was managed on behalf of Derry City and Strabane District Council as part of Enterprise Week after a successful tender application. This event brought together 24 public and private sector buyers and 55 suppliers for a series of pre-scheduled meetings. 79 individual timetables were created and distributed for 144 meetings, with an additional 72 meetings scheduled during the morning for the open session.

Sinead McLaughlin, Chamber Chief Executive, Deputy Mayor Jim McKeever, Danielle McNally, Business Officer DCSDC.

Attendees at Meet the Buyer.

Also in March was a ‘Doing business in the United States’, held in partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council and Invest NI and was facilitated by U.S. lawyer Michael Burke. Michael covered key areas such as contracts in the U.S., when, where, and how to form a U.S. affiliate business; insulating the Northern Irish parent company from U.S. business and legal risk and related issues. March also saw a tourism partnership and a Causeway and Golf Learning Day, in partnership with Visit Derry and with the kind support of Airporter. I’ll say no more as this is covered later in the magazine.

Attendees at Promoting North Coast Tourism familiarity trip visiting the Moon Garden at Drenagh Country House

A Leadership Dinner with renowned rugby captain, Rory Best, held in April was very engaging and insightful. Thank you to sponsors Greg Mitchell Motors, Fleming Agri Products and Hasting Everglades Hotel. For 2017 there are many more events planned, so please do visit www.londonderrychamber.co.uk. For now, I conclude, by saying that the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce will continue to give our members an active forum and we will continue to put them and the North West region to the fore in all our work and deliberations in the coming months. If you have any issues or ideas that you wish to share with us – please feel free to contact me directly at sinead@lononderrychamber.co.uk.

Robin McCormick, General Manager, SONI Ltd with Rory Best, Ireland Captain

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FEATURE

New Plans for Translink in Derry Jackie Logan talks to CEO of Translink, Chris Conway, about Translink and their new plans for the North West.

Chris Conway has been CEO of Translink for just under two years and while it’s clear that much investment has taken place over that time, there is more to come. He talks about integrated services, which connect people, enhance the economy and improve the environment across Northern Ireland. With a vision to be ‘your first choice for travel in Northern Ireland’, Translink has set out their plans for the next three to five years. Weavers Cross;

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a new eight hectare mixed use development site located on Great Victoria Street in Belfast will include a new modern, high capacity transport hub. A second major hub is also planned for the Old Waterside Station in Derry-Londonderry, both are envisaged to meet the transport needs of the future with the added advantage of regenerating those areas. “We are very excited by the plans across all of our

services particularly those in the North West and the Old Waterside Station. In Belfast; the new hub, will see four platforms grow to eight and the Enterprise service will move from Central Station allowing for a rail corridor down the eastern side of Northern Ireland and Ireland from Derry-Londonderry to Belfast, Dublin and Cork. “The Belfast Rapid Transit System 2018 will mean Belfast is more connected linking east to west and Titanic Quarter which

will help to benefit all of Northern Ireland, and with Belfast much easier to move around, this will attract additional investment to Belfast and beyond. “There will also be a new ticketing system. The current one is 15/20 years old. Sadly, we need to take everything out and start from scratch as our base system can’t be added to, so it is going to take time to build functionality and get to the stage where we have a ticketless smart card, a bit


FEATURE

like London’s Oyster Card. Ulsterbus and Metro will be integrated into this in 2019 and NI Railways late 2019. “This is an investment of £40 million, which will hopefully entice more users to use the system across all travel platforms, across all of the region. “The big news for the North West is that there will be an hourly service from Derry to Belfast beginning this July. Over the last two years between Derry and Coleraine, a passing loop has been built at Bellarena, we’ve also upgraded all of the signalling works between Coleraine and Derry too and placed a signalling cabin at Coleraine. “Our signalling system was somewhat outdated, by some 50 years. The hourly service with modern signalling techniques will help with better journey times as well as improved safety. “Beyond that, we’ve introduced a number of new coaches into the 212 service between Derry City and Belfast. There will be further investment as the coach fleet is added to in 2018 with double deck coaches which are slightly longer with more capacity and more leg room. “We are currently looking at the Derry City Service with new routes and a new timetable, creating a Foyle Metro service with the livery specific to Derry City. This will come to fruition later this year.” As part of their engagement in the North West, Translink will reveal its own set of Legends, similar to a campaign ran in Belfast last year. They will appear on the sides of the buses as they travel

We are currently looking at the Derry City Service with new routes and a new timetable, creating a Foyle Metro service with the livery specific to Derry City.

across the city. The campaign pays tribute to inspirational individuals who remind us of the incredible wealth of local Derry-Londonderry talent. The initial six nominated were; Roma Downey, Neil Hannon, Phil Coulter, Martin O’Neill OBE, James McClean and The Undertones. “The public will choose the final legends. Translink is a community driven organisation and it is important to engage and listen to them. We like to think we are knitted into the community, be it schools,

community groups, the PSNI or local councils, it’s important for us to engage and understand their needs and wishes. It’s also important to have a Translink that they are proud of. “Currently Translink runs at a loss. It is key we have a long term plan, and working with the Department for Infrastructure and the Northern Ireland Executive we need to look at what our public transport of the future looks like and where that investment will come from.

“After all, connectivity and infrastructure are the two key drivers in the economy.” Chris Conway as CEO has set Translink and himself quite a challenge. As a parting shot I ask him about his own legends. His retort; “Alex Ferguson. He knew what he wanted, he hired the right people and developed talent but most of all he had a long term strategy which worked.” Now wouldn’t it be good for Northern Ireland and the North West, if Translink had its very own Alex Ferguson!

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NEWS

Boston calling local businesses Local companies are being invited to submit expressions of interest for an exciting opportunity to break into the US market as part of a special cross-border trade mission to Boston taking place in November. The 2017 Trade and Investment Mission will focus on promoting the North West region as an attractive investment proposition for global companies, and Boston’s position among the top economically dominant locations in the world makes it the ideal location to foster trade links for local enterprises. The UK’s decision to leave the EU has raised many questions and while there are no answers to these questions yet it shouldn’t mean businesses should stop considering export growth and exploring new export markets outside of Europe. The mission is headed up by Derry City and Strabane District Council, in partnership with Donegal County Council, and is the latest step in Ireland Northwest’s Gateway to Growth Initiative. This strengthening partnership seeks to harness the significant shared assets of the border council areas, raise the profile of the region and expose local businesses to new export market opportunities. The partner councils have already made significant inroads in Boston Massachusetts with a wide network of stakeholders across a range of industries, as well as the political and academic arenas, which has been cultivated since the first partnership engagement initiative in 2008. As well as its historic connection with the NW and a thriving Diaspora community, Boston is widely recognised as an excellent match for local businesses hoping to break into the US market with its innovative and dynamic approach to global commerce. With a population of 6.8m, the greater Boston Metropolitan areas has the sixth largest economy in the country, and the 12th largest in the world. Key economic sectors in Boston include Higher Education, Biotechnology, IT, Finance, Healthcare and Tourism, complementing the North West’s regional specialisms in Advanced Manufacturing, Materials & Engineering (AMME), Life & Health Sciences and Creative Digital Technologies, and offering a platform for companies in these areas to forge fruitful in-market networks.

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Last year’s Ireland North West delegation included 16 participating businesses and partners Udaras na Gaeltachta, Ulster University, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and the North West Regional College, giving a strong business and academic focus to the visit with an emphasis on developing links with the City of Boston and the wider Massachusetts knowledge corridor. A number of manufacturing companies also travelled with the delegation including O’Neills Irish International Sports Company Limited, who had the opportunity to gain some new insight into the US market. A spokesperson for the company said:

We would certainly recommend the trade mission to any company with serious aspirations about doing business in the Boston and Massachusetts area.

“The Trade Mission provided the opportunity to explore new markets in Boston/Massachusetts while meeting key Irish community contacts. The Council’s network of contacts in Boston/ Massachusetts is very well developed and we were given the opportunity to meet with key contacts from the business and political communities. The trip certainly helped O’Neills to build our professional networks and provided insight to a market we know will be a key growth area.”  Consilium Education is a start-up company based in Letterkenny offering consulting services to schools in the rapidly growing international sector of education. The

company also took the opportunity to visit Boston last year, and as well as making new contacts in the education sector, they made some valuable connections with businesses closer to home. “During the trip we met with suppliers, generating important leads in the US for our company,” a spokesperson explained. “We have also started a collaborative project with O’Neills, the Strabane-based sportswear providers who we met during the visit, and we are now introducing their products to schools overseas. None of this would have been possible without the trip and the support of the two cross-border councils who did so much to make it possible for us.” By signing up for the 2017 Trade and Investment Mission to Boston any local company with serious aspirations of entering the US market, can benefit from a wide range of support services before, during and after the trip. With access to key economic and government decisionmakers, the opportunity is there for burgeoning enterprises to develop inmarket networks and in-market intelligence though business-to-business meetings with potential partners, agents and customers, as well as gain valuable first hand insight into the US market. Anyone interested in finding out more about the 2017 Trade and Investment Mission to Boston should go to www.derrystrabane.com/bostoncalling or contact: Rosalind Young/Adam Goodall at Derry City and Strabane District Council investment@derrystrabane.com 02871 253253; Michael Tunney at Donegal Local Enterprise Office michael.tunney@leo. donegalcoco.ie 00353749160735


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BREXIT

Brexit and the North West Brexit is on everyone’s mind at the minute. We’re seeing an influx of voters that are becoming increasingly engaged in politics, with the highest voter turnout recently since the elections just after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

any hard form of border management. In the first instance, the results of the analysis showed that free movement of goods, people and services across the border is essential and would result in an optimal outcome in the new dispensation that will exist post-Brexit. The ‘Initial Analysis’ suggests that, when the UK leaving the EU is factored into the independent economic forecasts for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the ‘Brexit scenarios’ for DCSDC and Donegal will see employment grow much more slowly than might have been anticipated, while the latter will see job The report also explores the broader impact creation but will continue to lag behind the national growth rates. on the UK and Ireland and some initial estimates of the economic effects, particularly during the transitional period as The ‘Hard Brexit scenario’ sees a decline in consumer expenditure alongside falling the Brexit arrangements are finalised. trade and business investment DCSDC will lose employment by 2030 while Donegal With the ‘Initial Analysis Report’, the two will have lost the opportunity to create an Councils and partners began the process additional 7,000 jobs. of exploring what the key issues are for those who live, work and visit the North To fully address and ‘Brexit proof’ this most West Region. The complex cross-border sensitive of regions in terms of Brexit relationships that exist across trade, retail, consequences, it is essential to begin to commuting, tourism and access to public explore more innovative responses to the services suggest that this area is challenges and opportunities that it brings. disproportionately sensitive to the effects of the UK’s leaving the EU and the return of These would include exploration of the potential of the following initiatives: While the results of Brexit will have differential geographical impact across these islands, the effect on the North West Region, the fourth largest City Region within Ireland, may be significant and sustained unless coherent, decisive, mitigating actions are put in place. The report enables the Councils to consider the socio-economic characteristics of the region, identify gaps in the knowledge base, consult with key stakeholders and evidence-share with agencies, voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors and the business community.

Whilst it’s a divisive time in global politics, it’s quite possibly, a more significant time for those of us in the North West thinking about the future of our country. In a few years, we could have a totally different Northern Ireland. Limited access to the Republic. Or even a special relationship? Who knows? And that’s all because of Brexit. With that in mind, Derry City and Strabane District Council in conjunction with Donegal County Council published a research document on the potential impact of Brexit on the North West City Region. The document, which brings together the views of a broad spectrum of experts, considers the wide ranging implications of a land border between an EU member state and a non-EU member state. It also takes into account the high levels of integration unique to this region.

• A Cross-Border Free Trade Zone, raising questions around the operation of this within the zone, the operation (and location) of its external boundaries including the application of customs checks, use of technology and how to deal with rules of origin requirement. • The introduction of supports for firms wishing to bi-locate in the North West Region in order to minimise some of the costs associated with Brexit, raising questions of whether this would take the shape of a cross-border business park, specialist assistance for those most affected – for example, advice to businesses on the issues likely to affect them in the new economic reality, the supply ultrafast broadband to assist firms to complete e-forms, etc. • Explore options for bespoke arrangements for free movement of Irish, UK, EU and non-EU citizens from the introduction of an equivalent to the Nordic passport union, to the enhancement of the Common Travel Area to the introduction of local border traffic zones (as on the Polish/ Russian border).

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Whilst it’s difficult to plan ahead with such uncertainty, it’s very easy to sit back and do nothing.

The initial work in preparing the region for the UK’s exit from the EU will be widened and deepened as greater clarity is achieved and many of the information gaps filled. The provision of a robust evidence base will be a central element of this collaborative effort and the sharing of information on a crossborder basis is critical. In line with the work completed to date, additional consultation with those living and working here will be an essential component to ensure that this region prospers post 2017. The work to date has identified a number of sectors where additional research and consultation is required to fully determine the challenges and opportunities of Brexit. In particular, we must examine more closely its potential impact on the Community, Voluntary and Social Enterprise sectors. Further analysis and consultation is also planned relating specifically to the rural area.

With the two Councils doing all they can, what can our businesses do, and what are some businesses currently doing? Whilst it’s difficult to plan ahead with such uncertainty, it’s very easy to sit back and do nothing. That’s why we’ve enlisted the help of some of the North West’s finest business leaders to give you an insight into what you can be doing. Over the next few pages, CONNECTED looks at, not only the challenges faced by Brexit, but the possibilities presented. We learn from business leaders how to navigate through the widely negative coverage and, not only find hope, but uncover real opportunities. The full report is available on the Derry City & Strabane District Council website: www.derrystrabane.com.

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BREXIT

Inhospitable Brexit CONNECTED chats to Ciaran O’Neill, President of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF) and Operator of Bishop’s Gate Hotel.

Hot on the heels of being named as one of the best hotels in the UK, with Bishop’s Gate Hotel ranked second in TripAdvisor’s UK top 25 rated hotels in the annual Travellers’ Choice awards, the hotel has also just celebrated its first birthday. It’s no doubt that Ciaran’s direction is a tour de force in the world of hospitality, as the hotel’s first year of trading has exceeded both occupancy and business targets. Opening our conversation, we ask Ciaran how Brexit is unique to Bishop’s Gate and the North West. “We are right on the border and very much dependent on the free movement with no border restrictions for our rooms’ business. With that said, a hard border would be disastrous for tourism in Derry and for Bishop’s Gate.” Ciaran goes on to discuss the immediate effects of Brexit in the North West: “hoteliers and those situated on the border have felt an immediate impact with a weaker sterling, seeing an influx of business from the Republic. This has continued, so hoteliers have had an immediate injection of cash flow over recent months. “In the long term we hope that the Island will get special exemption around travel and borders enabling the

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impact on tourism to be minimised and that common sense prevails around movement of workers.”

Brexit may open the door for the VAT issue to be looked at and bring us in line with our ROI neighbours, which would be a game changer for the hospitality industry in Northern Ireland.

We go on to ask Ciaran if Bishop’s Gate Hotel has made any plans for Brexit, although he explains that he is dissuaded from planning due to the uncertainty. “We will adjust as we get clearer indications of what a deal might look like,” Ciaran states. With that we ask Ciaran if he has any words of wisdom for those in his sector. Ciaran explains that people should not panic, instead start thinking about the mix of the current work force and any potential implications that Brexit may bring. “The tourism sector is dependent on incoming visitors to the Island of Ireland, with the vast majority of

inbound travel coming in through Dublin Airport and travelling North from there. We are not exporting or manufacturing goods, so free movement in the EU is a critical issue for the hospitality sector, especially bearing in mind the sustainable growth that is required for tourism to reach the targets being discussed at government. “We as a sector are dependent on our European workforce and making this group of individuals nervous around the lack of what the futures holds is impacting already. “Northern Ireland and Derry in particular is seeing tourism growth, and without Brexit I would have been very positive about the future, but with the uncertainty I am more cautious and think until we get a deal then planning needs to be flexible.” Concluding our discussion, Ciaran explains that whilst there will be, and there are currently positives to Brexit, the negatives may force many businesses to reconsider their position, and, in some scenarios, move elsewhere. “The only thing certain at present is that we have uncertain days ahead!”


BREXIT

Striking Gold in County Tyrone CONNECTED chats to Dr Brian Kelly, managing director, Dalradian Gold Limited about how Brexit affects the business and his plans moving forward. Dalradian Resources is a mining, exploration and development company currently in the final stages of preparing its planning application to build and operate a gold mine at Curraghinalt in Co. Tyrone. One could say that the company is ‘striking gold’ here in Northern Ireland, or at least planned to in the near future – but how will Brexit impact upon this unique business proposition? Opening our conversation, Dr Kelly discusses the gold mine project extensively, allowing us an insight into the business. He states: “One of the project’s main competitive strengths is the high grade, which would place it in the top 10% of gold mines world-wide. Our aim is to build Europe’s leading gold mine using best-in-class mining, processing and environmental standards, while facilitating economic development in Northern Ireland.”

on to explain. “The only constant in business is change, and Brexit will undoubtedly mean change. However, it is much too early to say what the economic outworking of Brexit might be.

An independent feasibility study conducted in 2016 showed that, should the project be granted planning permission, it will support at least 300 jobs during the construction phases and more than 350 permanent positions during operation of the mine. It is estimated that the mine will pay annual wages of around £21 million to direct employees.

With the company’s commitment to Northern Ireland clear, Dr Kelly assures us that Dalradian Gold’s focus is firmly on providing training and skills development to maximise local employment at the project. He explains: “This is a long-term commitment by the company and so Brexit won’t impact our plans in that regard. We have already established an office in Omagh and another in Gortin.

“This is clearly a great boost to the economy of Northern Ireland and for Tyrone and it shows the commitment of Dalradian to this project,” Dr Kelly goes

“It would be impossible to assess what impact Brexit might have on the company in ten years’ time. If we are looking to lessons from the past we can

What we can say with certainty is that a project such as Dalradian’s in Northern Ireland won’t move or relocate because of Brexit. Given the nature of the project, we are clearly firmly rooted in the region and the 350 jobs that will be created will therefore be safe.

see that gold as a commodity has been remarkably resilient in terms of value across the decades.” Dr Kelly is confident about the company’s prospects in the market and the quality of the gold deposit in Tyrone. Certainly, in times of economic distress gold has traditionally been seen as a safe haven. Since 2008 the price of gold has almost doubled. “We believe that the establishment of Europe’s leading gold mine in Northern Ireland sends out a very powerful message for the entire region and will also support and sustain other businesses, adding to the already strong manufacturing base which exists in Northern Ireland, with companies such as Sandvik, Terex, CDE and the like. Indeed, we estimate that the project will generate several hundred indirect jobs,” Dr Kelly states. While Brexit will undoubtedly bring change, Dr Kelly and his colleagues at Dalradian Gold are certain that their upcoming gold mining project is firmly anchored in Northern Ireland and has very bright prospects ahead. Prospects of gold, some may say.

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BREXIT

Connected to the Republic CONNECTED chats to Ryan Williams, CEO, Connected Talent UK, Director, Connected Health and MD, Ally Consulting about how his businesses are preparing for Brexit. It seemed apt that we should speak to Ryan Williams about Brexit, given his stance on the matter and the fact that his companies are also, like us, ‘Connected’, and that’s essentially what we’re discussing, connections. Our connection to the EU, more specifically to RoI and how the separation will affect companies moving forward. Ryan is a Director and Shareholder of two companies, a healthcare company, Connected Health, which employs over 230 staff and a recruitment company, Connected Talent, which employs 17 people. Whilst Ryan doesn’t think Connected Health will be affected much by Brexit, the company has already made plans moving forward: “we have already set up a legal entity in the South of Ireland and we’re investigating what a market entry would look like.” Ryan assures me that this move was always on the cards, but Brexit has just spurred the action along.

We rely on the free “movement of labour, which is quite important when you’ve a small market like Northern Ireland where the talent is finite.

Discussing Connected Talent, Ryan goes on to explain: “we already have a number of key contracts in the Republic of Ireland. We’ve set up a legal entity there and we’ve opened offices in Galway and we’re effectively trading in the South. We’ve done all this since Brexit was announced. “The free movement of labour is critically important to us. If we wanted to bring talent from Germany to a company in Northern Ireland, Brexit could prove potentially problematic. We just don’t know. But with a base in the South, we should be able to overcome some of those issues.”

We ask Ryan if he knows of any positive implications of Brexit. Interestingly, he talks about how over 20,000 guaranteed businesses

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(some estimate over 100,000) have registered in the Republic of Ireland from across the UK and Northern Ireland. He said: “as a recruitment and talent business, on an island with a fairly small population, the scarcity of resources and talent is going to be very interesting and there will be an immediate market requirement for people who are good at finding and recruiting talent. “The Republic is seeing a massive uplift right now. If we (NI) managed to get a split dispensation in terms of movement of people and the free market on an all island basis, it could really revolutionise the

economy here.” Ryan goes on to talk about how he has taken control of what is in his grasp, the immediate concerns, as the future is not yet certain. “There’s a good chance the government could reduce us down to a 5% corporation tax rate, we just don’t know.” To conclude, we ask Ryan if he has any advice for other companies moving forward. “My advice would be to stop sitting on your hands and going to Brexit events to talk about how terrible it all is, be proactive and do something about it, grasp whatever’s in your control.”


This month, we are six months in business and are delighted to say that in a short space of time we have been able to make a very positive contribution to the local economy. One of the biggest challenges facing the business community right now is the lack of liquidity in the market place and the fact that many businesses are struggling due to the lack of support on offer from the traditional banking sector. This was the catalyst for our team to bring CLEARPATH FINANCE to the market place with our HQ based in Belfast City Centre. We are delighted to report that as of today we have been able to introduce over ÂŁ15,000,000 of new business loans to the N Ireland economy. This is an incredible achievement in a short space of time, and we are delighted that we have been able to help deliver new capital to over twenty local businesses ranging from those in construction, renewables, licensed premises to manufacturing and logistics. The goal of our business is to be the number one alternative lending platform in N Ireland in the first twelve months of trading and with over ÂŁ20M of new loans agreed and with solicitors, in addition to the ÂŁ15M that has already been drawn down, we are well on the road to achieving this. If you have a funding requirement, why not think of speaking to one of our team as we pride ourselves on getting you a decision in principle within 72 hours. The company is looking forward to the next few months and we are confident we can bring a lot more capital into the local economy in this timeframe. To find out how to help your business grow, please contact us on 0333 0042 888 or visit www.clearpathfinance.com for more details.

James Gibbons LLB and Conor Devine MRICS


BREXIT

Randox Prepares for Brexit CONNECTED chats to Randox Founder, Dr Peter Fitzgerald, about Brexit and how Randox is preparing for the future. Dr Peter Fitzgerald founded Randox in humble beginnings in Crumlin, North Belfast and, since then, has nurtured and cultivated one of Northern Ireland’s biggest success stories. With clinics in Dubai, Beverly Hills, Crumlin, Holywood, London and Manchester to name a few, Dr Fitzgerald is certain about the company’s future despite the uncertainty related to Brexit. Randox is quite neutral on Brexit but Dr Fitzgerald fully understands that it’s on the horizon. He states: “as a positive element, we hope that the regulations may reduce coming from Brussels. On a temporary basis, the weakening of the pound helped us although the initial impact was higher import costs, which did hurt us last year. This year, we’re seeing the benefit of the weaker pound however we don’t like to base business decisions on currency fluctuations.” Dr Fitzgerald confidently and optimistically hopes that the Brexit vote will increase access to further markets as well as not reducing access, however his main concerns lie with access to talent. “We are very much a global company”, he continues, “and we really do like employing people from different countries. We have lots of European staff in our Antrim and London offices and we do worry about the lack of certainty as to whether they can stay.” Dr Fitzgerald was asked about how Randox, a world leading life science and engineering research and manufacturing centre at the cutting-edge of human healthcare based in Dungloe, Donegal will be affected moving forward. In 2014, the company announced an ambitious expansion programme that will see staff

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This diversity of talent is very, very important to Randox, and whatever way we move forward, we would like to make sure that the country will be very welcoming to all nationalities. We really need that. numbers rise from 80 employees to 540 by 2020. He says: “if the negative elements become too negative, in the UK specifically, we will expand in Donegal, especially if there are restrictions applied to bringing more talent into the country.” It is clear that he is staff focussed and that skilled prospective employees are his main concern for the future, which is refreshing to hear, as his emphasis is not solely financial woes. “After the Referendum, we spoke to all of our staff to explain what we thought it meant, with particular emphasis for those without British passports. We have reassured staff to let them know that we are committed to developing them and furthering their careers.” Rounding off an incredibly interesting discussion, we asked Dr Fitzgerald if he had any advice for other businesses preparing for Brexit. “Everything in life is built upon strong and enduring relationships. So, my best advice would be to continue to look after your customers as best

you can. We always look internally to see what we could be doing better to improve our performance. Whilst macro political influences may affect the business, enduring relationships and a focus on internal processes is the best way to cope with periods of fluctuations. “In the next five to ten years we hope to be stronger, a lot bigger and export more. We’re unique in that, if we’re blocked going into EU countries, then we look at changing our jurisdictions. I’m confident that Randox is flexible enough to adapt to any macro political or economic event.” We’re now left with conjured images of Dr Fitzgerald nurturing and looking out for his staff just like the Biochemistry Researcher would have done with his lab tests in those early days in Crumlin. We’ve no doubt that in addition to providing the optimum environment for lab experiments to flourish; Dr Fitzgerald has his staff’s welfare at the fore amidst varying external influences.


NEWS

Dawson Hinds Opens New Derry Showroom The new 3000 square foot showroom at 101 Spencer Road is designed to showcase some superb new modern products. A meeting room / conference facility is available free of charge for businesses to use for the delivery of workshops / training outside of their own work environments. Dawson Hinds began trading in the office products sector in Victoria Road, Derry in September 1996. Over the last twenty years the family business has grown immensely and the company now provides, not only quality office products, but also design, consultancy and space planning for businesses both locally and globally. The team at Dawson Hinds is also now offering office fit out to customers, enhancing their customer service and providing total fit out solutions. “Our approach is to provide our clients with a solution driven service, tailored to their special requirements.”said Dawson, managing director. The official opening of the new premises at 101 Spencer Road will be at the end of summer 2017, with details to be revealed on the company’s website and on social media. “We hope that people can come along to celebrate with us and to see our new showroom, which we’re very excited about. Everyone is welcome, both existing and new clients, and for those wishing to discuss office requirements, we’d be delighted to help you achieve your perfect creative space,” explained Dawson.

Cassidy Bros deliver flagship 1916 Rising artwork in Dublin Cassidy Bros Ltd has polished off the flagship art project for South Dublin’s centenary commemoration of the 1916 Rising. Breaking Emmet’s Block, a sculpture forged from polished concrete and steel was recently unveiled outside The Pearse Museum at Grange Road, Rathfarnham. The public artwork, which was designed by artist Alice Rekab and commissioned by South Dublin County Council, is a new focal point at the historic home and Irish language school of Patrick Pearse, the leader of 1916 Rising. David Cassidy, from Cassidy Bros Ltd, said: “We were delighted to work closely with Dublin sculptor Alice Rekab on this impressive project to mark the commemoration of the 1916 Rising. The creation of bespoke concrete products has become a significant arm of our business at Cassidy Bros. “Our vast experiences in delivering pre-cast concrete products to exact specifications has allowed us to develop a strong interest in delivering artworks and installations of unrivalled quality all over Ireland, the UK and further afield.” Breaking Emmet’s Block is approximately 2m high and 1m x 1.5m metres wide at the base. It is cast from coloured concrete around a steel armature. Mr Cassidy explains: “The sculpture is forged from bespoke, reinforced, exposed and polished concrete with black and cobalt blue dyes to allow for contrast of the different elements or the artwork. All sections were cut to shape using large saws which exposed the aggregates - the concrete was then polished and sealed to bring out the true colour.” Inspired by the artefact of Robert Emmet’s Block – which is housed in the Pearse Museum – the sculpture

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is designed “to reflect the impact of change and the emergence of a new world from the old”, says artist Alice Rekab. The sculpture “speaks to the heroism, brilliance and imagination that underpin the history of St. Enda’s park”, she adds. Ms Rekab explains: “Robert Emmet’s Block is of interest to me as it forms a joint site of both Emmets untimely execution and the historic signature table for the first Irish government bonds – symbolising how we built upon revolutionary sacrifice to construct a new state for the Irish people. The Breaking Emmet’s Block sculpture acts as a contemporary continuation of both Pearse’s commemoration of heroes and the playful twist his pageantry brought to the romantic idealism that was so central to the culture of St. Enda’s.” Ms Rekab says the materials bring “a futuristic twist to a brutalist aesthetic inspired by the monuments or Spomenik structures found across multiple commemorative sites in the former Yugoslavia.” She explains that Robert Emmet’s Block “draws through lines between the socialist ideals of the Irish free state and their remnants in the contemporary Irish psyche”. Cassidy Brothers is a family-run business based in Donegal which supplies building and concrete products across the island of Ireland and throughout the UK. Products include Natural Building Stone, Bespoke Cut Stone, Stone Lintels and Sills, Decorative Gravel, Paving, Bespoke Precast, Masonry Blocks, Ready Mix Concrete, Precast Concrete and Quarry Stone.


SPONSORED FEATURE

THE WAREHOUSE Situated on Guildhall Street next door to the city’s famous Guildhall, the Warehouse is an exciting hub of cultural, creative and culinary activity. In addition to the delicious local fare served up in the cafe and bistro the building also includes an art gallery and gift shop. The Warehouse was co-founded by past presidents of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce Alan McClure and Gavin Killeen in 2013. Alan said “the Warehouse started as a cafe serving renowned coffee and artisan food in a quirky environment. It has since grown to incorporate an informal bistro, gift shop and art gallery. I would encourage locals and visitors to come along and experience what we have to offer.” With the onset of longer, warmer days (we hope!), the Warehouse is looking forward to the launch of their new summer menus and cocktail list. Using local seasonal produce wherever possible, the cafe and bistro unite to provide a

summer food and drink offering to suit all tastes and pockets. A new exciting concept will be the introduction of the Warehouse ‘small plates’ menu which will be available Wed – Fri in the cafe from 4pm – 9pm with prices from £4.00 per plate.... licensed of course! The Art Gallery on the first floor shows the very best local, contemporary and traditional artists such as Barbara Allen, Melita Denaro, Andrew Glenn and Brian and Denise Ferran. It houses an extensive range of paintings, ceramics and sculptures and is the perfect place to enjoy established local artists as well as emerging local talent.

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11/05/2017

The Warehouse Shop offers a wide range of unique exclusive gifts and home decor to suit all budgets. It is also the local hub for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and runs regular in-house workshops in its dedicated paint studio. The quirky shop has become known as one of the greatest hidden gems in Derry and is well worth a visit.

The Warehouse started as a cafe serving renowned coffee and artisan food in a quirky environment. It has since grown to incorporate an informal bistro, gift shop and art gallery.

Opening times for each venue are Cafe

Mon/Tues: Wed – Sat: Sunday:

9am – 5.30pm 9am til late 10am – 5.30pm

Bistro

Wed – Sat:

6pm – 9.30pm

Shop & Art Gallery

Mon – Sat: Sunday:

10am – 5.30pm 11am – 5pm

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13:11


SPONSORED FEATURE

Planning for your financial future

At KMC Wealth Management we firmly believe that planning for a secure future, for yourself, your family or for your business, is one of the most important steps that you will ever take. We specialise in providing high quality personal advice on many aspects of wealth management, advising clients of widely differing financial resources and of all ages.

Jonathan McCombe BA(Hons) DipFA, Partner.

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Additionally, we assist businesses in the increasingly complex area of corporate financial planning, providing guidance on pensions, protection for directors, key employees or shareholders, tax

reliefs and aspects of exit strategy planning. Now in our fifth year of operation in the North West, we are pleased to announce that we will be opening our new offices at 11 Limavady Road in June and feel that we are better placed than ever to meet the need for quality financial advice in the North West. Jonathan McCombe, Partner at KMC Wealth Management answers some frequently asked questions to help clarify the importance of understanding financial planning:


SPONSORED FEATURE

Can you help me make sense of what I have in place? Most people feel they have a good understanding of finance but when we actually sit down and look at the circumstances of individual clients most have a reasonable handle on the numbers in their business but not how this links to them personally. Most business owners are so busy working in their business they don’t make time to work on their business and evaluate how their business is meeting their personal needs. We can help clients evaluate what they have and put proper financial foundations in place.

What is the best way to extract profits and value from my business? This is a question that all business owners ponder on a regular basis. There are many sensible options that a business owner can consider when answering this question. A simple one is considering pension contributions especially now that pensions are much more flexible than they used to be. However, there are other areas that should be considered and we can help with this on a bespoke basis depending on someone’s needs.

How do I involve my family? This can be from bringing children into the business with the view to them eventually taking over the running of the business. Or, it could mean ensuring that the family get the appropriate value from the business if sold in the future. However, this also includes personal wealth and there are many issues to consider such as gifting and inheritance tax planning to ensure that wealth can be transferred between generations as tax efficiently as possible.

The most important question that I would ask a business owner is – Do you have an exit strategy? Most business owners work more hours than they care to admit, even to themselves, and in general they feel that at some stage the business will be sold and provide them with the retirement income they need. This is a reasonable assumption and therefore most business owners don’t sit down, take time out and create a plan of how and when this might be and more importantly, what will it actually look like and how will they make it happen. It doesn’t matter whether this is many years in the future or indeed not that far from being a reality. By asking this difficult question early and then trying to put answers around it we can help business owners prepare thoroughly for this, ensuring that by the time a sale is feasible their house will be properly in order with ‘no skeletons in the closet’ that can reduce the expected value of a business sale dramatically even to the extent of destroying any sale at all.

What would happen if you were to take seriously ill or die?

How can I be sure my corporate and personal affairs are working in tandem to ensure that I get the best outcome for me and my family? Because most business owners are so engrossed in running their business (after all this is the hand that feeds them and their family) they tend to neglect their personal financial planning. We can help ensure that the decisions taken at a corporate level and a personal level are congruent and ultimately create the best possible outcome. In summary, there are many pressing questions that business owners need to address. This does mean taking some time out of the business. The more focused and time effective this is the better. At KMC we have a process in place that takes care of this and maximises the value of any time spent planning for one’s future. If you would like to discuss any of the information in this article please contact us for a no obligation review on 028 7127 3030.

A tough question that most people don’t want to consider and even less will ask. At KMC we feel it is vital that business owners take this seriously. For sole traders with employees, the business will First Floor Offices likely close. Who will meet the redundancy costs? Where will the money 11 Limavady Road JONATHAN McCOMBE BA(Hons) DipFA come from? For partnerships and Waterside Partner shareholders in Ltd companies and LLPs, Derry Londonderry will the bank be comfortable to continue BT47 6JU to support you as normal if your business First Floor Offices 11 Limavady Road Waterside Derry Londonderry BT47 6JU partner takes sick or dies? Where will you Telephone: 028Fax: 7127 3030 Telephone: 02871 273030 02871 368650 Mobile: 07792 481921 find the money to purchase their share jonathan.mccombe@sjpp.co.uk Fax: 028 7136 8650www.kmcwealthmanagement.co.uk of the business if required? Do you even Mobile: 077 9248 1921 have it in writing what would happen jonathan.mccombe@sjpp.co.uk in such an event? These are all trying www.kmcwealthmanagement.co.uk questions, but they need answered and we can help to put strategies in place to protect against these potential problems.

The Partner Practice represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the The Partner Practice represents only St. James’ssolely Place Wealth plc (whichwealth is authorised and regulated by the products and services, more Financial Conduct Authority)Financial for the purpose of advising onManagement the Group’s management Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group’s wealth management products and services, more detailsdetails of which are on the Group’s website The www.sjp.co.uk/products. of which are set set out onout the Group’s website www.sjp.co.uk/products. title ‘Partner Practice’ is the marketing term used to describe St. James’s Place representatives.

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SPONSORED FEATURE

DANSKE BANK REPORTS UPLIFT IN NORTH WEST BUSINESS ACTIVITY It is widely known that the business community across the island of Ireland is facing the challenge of uncertainty about the future, both at home and abroad. Gavin McShane, Christine Deane, Aaron Ennis, Lisa McKenna, Gary McLaughlin & Mark Taylor.

Brexit has been the chief concern for businesses in the North West given the importance of cross border trade and employment between Derry and Donegal. But while we still don’t know what the future holds, it appears that business owners in this part of the world have decided now is not the time to down tools. In fact Danske Bank’s local team is reporting an uplift in business activity in the first quarter of 2017. Aaron Ennis commented: “Every business in the region still has questions about what Brexit and macro-economic issues will mean for them, how it will affect their customers, their suppliers and their staff,” says Aaron. “But what we have experienced is that following a brief lull, businesses are pressing on with investment decisions and expansion plans, confident in their ability to manage any changes that might be coming down the line.” Aaron leads a team of business managers that are focused on developing business with both the bank’s existing customers and new customers across the region.


SPONSORED FEATURE

The North West team is made up of three business managers within business banking, as well as several product specialists and two private bankers to support the personal banking requirements of directors and shareholders. It services businesses of all sizes right across the North West and the team is currently spending a lot of time on the road meeting existing and new customers face to face. “There is a strong demand for lending from a number of sectors in the North West,” adds Aaron. “The construction and commercial property sectors are showing signs of recovery, albeit at a steady pace, and Danske helped support a number of new projects in the area such as the financing of the Richmond Centre. Notably asset finance and working capital requests

The message is clear. We’re committed to servicing local “businesses, funds are available and we are keen to support businesses reach their full potential, regardless of their size. ” for trading businesses are also on the rise along with an increase in refinancing from other banks.” The bank’s proactive approach has resulted in a number of businesses moving to Danske from competitors in the last 12 months. Aaron says that the common reasons cited are the strong relationship management service offered, the support of local specialists, the bank’s service levels, along with its easy to use IT systems, which have made it an attractive proposition for many growing businesses. Precision Industrial Services,

is a family owned business employing over 300 people across a range of sectors including facilities, construction, industrial, environmental and waste management support, is currently in the process of moving its entire business banking over to Danske Bank. Aaron Ennis notes that Danske Bank also has small business advisors back on the ground in its North West branch, which has been very well received by local businesses. “Face to face interactions with bank managers is something that a number of our

competitors are shying away from. Not us though. We’ve listened to our customers and it is one aspect of banking that they want to maintain,” he adds. “The message is clear. We’re committed to servicing local businesses, funds are available and we are keen to support businesses reach their full potential, regardless of their size.” To find out how the team can help you, contact Mark Taylor or Lisa McKenna on 028 9004 7469/ 028 9004 7213.

Lisa McKenna Senior Business Manager

Mark Taylor Business Manager

Gary McLaughlin Business Manager

With almost 20 years’ experience working at Danske Bank, Lisa has worked in both retail and business banking. In her current role as a senior business manager, she manages a portfolio of various business customers from around the local area, based in North West & Mid Ulster.

Mark has worked in Danske Bank for 35 years, gaining experience in retail and business banking. Based in the North Business Centre, he manages a portfolio of businesses that includes property, retail, wholesale and solicitors, based in North West & Mid Ulster.

Gary has worked in Danske Bank for 17 years, taking up a role in the personal banking team before moving into business banking. He manages a portfolio of customers across Ballymena, Magherafelt & Derry/Londonderry areas which span various sectors including manufacturing, engineering, retail, health and legal and professional.

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FEATURE

Derry to London, City of Derry Airport Back on the London Map Jackie Logan talked to Clive Coleman, airport manager, of City of Derry Airport, to hear of their recent challenges and of their new and exciting plans. The American businessman, Henry Ford said; “When everything seems to be going against you remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” This was perhaps something that Clive Coleman was thinking of, as the City of Derry Airport (CoDA) has faced many challenges over the years. However, the last year or eighteen months saw a new set of challenges but with them, also came new and exciting plans. Derry City and Strabane District Council and CoDA’s aim is to ensure that along with growth, the airport delivers the

widest possible economic and social benefits to local communities and the North West Region. Quite an ask. Clive Coleman is the Contracts Manager for Regional & City Airports (RCA) who operate the airport for the Council under a management services contract and he has found himself for the past seven years at the helm of the City of Derry Airport. He admits that like any business, the airport has seen its share of challenges particularly during the recession but the industry as a whole, has certainly faced several different global and fiscal challenges, which has impacted upon CoDA more recently.

“Over the last few years Ryanair, our major carrier changed their overarching strategy and reduced the number of flights from 30 flights a week to 17 flights a week and last summer the airline informed us that they would be terminating their London service which has been the premier route from the airport. This change in strategy was largely driven as a result of the Brexit vote but the impact on the airport proved challengingly and would have been catastrophic without a replacement service. “With Ryanair moving to Belfast, the fluctuating exchange rate and Air Passenger Duty Rate the writing was on the wall. We had to take action, so we, very quickly, engaged with the Department of Transport and looked at the possibility of a Public Service Obligation (PSO) through their regional connectivity fund.” The PSO allows a devolved administration or local authority to access funding for supporting an airline to operate a service which is vital for the economic and social development of the region and is used for protection of existing UK air services to London where there is a risk that regional connectivity may be lost.

The departure of the inaugural BMI Regional flight from City of Derry Airport to London Stansted are, William McClintock, Roy Devine, Airport Chairman, Graeme Ross, BMI, John Kelpie, DCSDC, CEO, the Mayor, Alderman Hilary McClintock, Mitch Phillips, Senior First Officer, Vicky Gotts, Cabin Crew, Bill Gill, Captain, Tom Wilson, Accountable Manager Regional and City Airports and Charlene Shongo Marketing and Communications Manager, CODA.

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“CoDA seemed to fit all the PSO criteria and by mid October 2016 we had EU approval, thanks to a lot of hard work from those within the Council, the Airport and the Department of Transport. We also had fantastic cross party political support.” Subsequent to securing the PSO, a competitive tender process saw Derry City and Strabane District Council appoint BMI


FEATURE

engineering team. The crew will be recruited and based locally creating 14 or 15 well paid and skilled jobs. We hope that with the aircraft based at City of Derry Airport there will be further news to follow with new and other routes. “This route not just opens up the market to getting to London for a full day’s business but the whole North West region is opened up to in bound tourism and leisure visitors too. The first passengers who boarded the inaugural BMI flight from City of Derry Airport to London Stansted.

Regional to operate the City of Derry Airport to London Stansted route.

This change in strategy was largely driven as a result of the Brexit vote but the impact on the airport proved challengingly and would have been catastrophic without a replacement service.

Clive continued; “It took more time than we thought to assemble the funding but we are delighted that the new route began in early May. Ticket sales exceeded all expectations after launching in early March and for BMI Regional it seems to be the fastest selling route they’ve ever had.”

Two return flights operate each day, except for Saturdays, which will have one flight each way. The new service offers customers a convenient, all-inclusive service where 23kg bags fly for free and passengers can enjoy complimentary inflight drinks and snacks on board. “There is more good news in that the BMI Regional aircraft will be based at City of Derry Airport along with an

“Although very hopeful about the future, we’ve been held back slightly as we had engaged with the Northern Ireland Executive (NIE) and the Deputy First Minister about route development. In late 2016 we had ministerial sign off to develop other routes, but unfortunately this can’t be progressed until the NIE is up and running again.” “The Airport remains an important regional gateway that is an essential part of the future development of the North West City region and we remain committed to ensuring that City of Derry Airport, is the airport of choice for the North West of Ireland, offering both convenience and excellent customer service.” It’s fair to say that the new London route has been very welcomed by all in the North West and that the major stakeholders are working hard to ensure the North West thrives, even if the wind is against them occasionally.

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NEWS

RST EPoS

AE Global & NWRC announce £150k Project Partnership

celebrates 40th anniversary Local Derry company, RST EPoS is celebrating its 40th year in operation.   The family run business designs, supplies and supports innovative Electronic Point of Sale Systems for use in the hospitality and retail sectors across the UK and Ireland and employs over 40 people.   Established in 1977 the company began with selling Sharp cash registers. As technology has changed RST EPoS has ensured it has not only stayed at the forefront but also driven this sector with its forward thinking and vision in this sector and how technology should be integrated across all relevant platforms.   John Cregan, Director said; “RST EPoS is delighted to be celebrating such a milestone anniversary this year. Our Chairman, Neil Bradley, started the company in 1977, today the technology that is available is unrecognisable when compared with 1977. We’ve come a long way from those first Sharp cash registers but even back then we were adapting and continuing to embrace new advances.    “Today we have our own software suite, iTouch, and we are also excited to have developed a food delivery and collection website ‘Iwantfed’.  We believe as an innovative company we are well placed and hope to continue for at least a further 40 years!”

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Mark Sweeney Engineer AE Global, Kieran Connor MD AE Global, Dr Fergal Tuffy, NWRC Technology Innovation Manager, Dr Joel Ferguson, KTP Advisor InnovateUK and Teresa Deeney, NWRC Computing Lecturer.

North West Regional College’s (NWRC) Business Support Centre (BSC) has announced details of a new £150k Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project with AE Global, formerly known as All Pipe Engineering in Maydown. The two-and-a-half-year project, funded by InnovateUK and Invest NI, is aiming to develop a cutting edge business and process management platform, called DELA (Database of Engineering and Logistical Analytics). Dr Fergal Tuffy, Technology Innovation Manager at the NWRC’s BSC said: “AE Global is an award winning manufacturer and constructor of Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) services specialising in the fabrication of bespoke piping systems for the pharmaceutical, oil and gas and allied chemical sectors. “While AE Global is at the cutting edge of their sector, they are looking to the future and identifying, through this knowledge transfer partnership, ways in which they can incorporate the latest developments in IT and computing into the business to help them to expand and compete more effectively on a global scale. “Knowledge Transfer Partnerships enable businesses to access highly qualified people to spearhead new projects and

experts to take their business forward with innovative solutions to help their business grow, and AE Global is a prime example of this. “At NWRC we have a Centre of Excellence in Software Engineering and have built up a lot of expertise that we will utilise as part of this project. The project will see the recruitment of a highly skilled degree graduate coming from the area of computing, software engineering or IT who will then work to deliver this exciting research and development project for AE Global, under the supervision of NWRC.” Kieran Connor, managing director of AE Global added: “At AE Global the introduction of DELA in conjunction with the KTP programme is the future in innovative ‘real-time’ information communication. “This will be an excellent opportunity for a graduate to join our team and work on a leading project for our business. AE Global wants to develop a unique business and process management platform called DELA (Database of Engineering and Logistical Analytics). It will be an intelligent IT database system that tracks and monitors complete work flow from design and manufacture through to installation and commissioning and it will be an excellent opportunity for the KTP associate.”


Worth Worth getting getting up for up for

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TOURISM

Tourism collaboration at its best Ahead of this summer’s prestigious Dubai Duty Free Irish Open golf tournament, which is being hosted by Portstewart Golf Club from the 6th to the 9th July 2017, an exciting initiative has been launched between the Londonderry Chamber and Visit Derry to help make the most of the tourism potential from this and future major events to the region.

The tourism and hospitality sector is of growing importance to Derry, the Causeway Coast and the wider region. It is essential that local businesses recognise the opportunities this presents.

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TOURISM

With over 100,000 spectators expected to attend the Irish Open in July, Jennifer McKeever, vice president of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, said; “The tourism and hospitality sector is of growing importance to Derry, the Causeway Coast and the wider region. It is essential that local businesses recognise the opportunities this presents. It is equally important that we all work together to provide visitors with a first class experience. “With exciting events planned over the next two years, starting with the Irish Open, we must recognise that the broader North West needs to operate as a single region. It is only by doing so, that visitors will have available to them the accommodation and other

hospitality facilities that they will need. The Chamber of Commerce is very pleased to be working closely with Visit Derry to help local businesses make the most of these exciting opportunities.” The 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation, is set to be the biggest in the tournament’s history. To show what is on offer nearby the golf course, a familiarisation day to the North Coast was arranged by the Chamber and Visit Derry. The aim of the visit was to acquaint visitor servicing businesses in the North West with the global events that are taking place and to ensure they are placing themselves in a position to take advantage of

Working lunch at Portstewart Golf Club.

the visitor numbers and media spotlight. The Irish Open has a global media audience of 420 million and with the British Open coming to Royal Portrush in 2019, and an expected global audience of nearly twice that, it is key for local businesses to take advantage and get involved. Over two dozen local businesses took part in the visit which was sponsored by Airporter including Derry & Strabane District Council, City of Derry Airport, The Whitehorse Best Western, Faughan Valley Golf Club and Greencastle Golf Club. After setting off from Derry, the group’s first visit was to the beautiful Drenagh Country Estate in Limavady. Here the group enjoyed a tour and found out what was on offer for visitors. It was then a short journey to Portstewart Golf Club to see first hand just some of the preparations that go into hosting such a prestigious event as the Irish Open. The Londonderry Chamber invited members of the Causeway Chamber to an enjoyable working lunch in Portstewart Golf Club where they were able to chat candidly about how best to work together to try to extend the length of stay and visitor spend. Tourism Ireland is keen to encourage businesses to use their global platforms to reach visitors around the world and joined the group to explain how businesses can work together to look for ‘value add’ visitor propositions.

After a stop at Harry’s Shack, situated right at the entrance of Portstewart Strand, the group visited Royal Portrush in the afternoon for a tour of the golf club’s facilities and to hear how plans are currently underway ahead of the club hosting the British Open in 2019. With the golf market contributing £130m to the NI economy this year alone and the fact it supports more than 2,200 jobs here, there is huge potential for local businesses to tap into this market and really showcase what they can offer to potential visitors from around the world. The final stop for the group was a tour of the famous Bushmills Distillery, Ireland’s oldest working distillery. This busy and worthwhile tour to the North Coast gave the attendees the chance to discuss at length ideas and plans with The Causeway Chamber and Tourism Ireland, looking at how they can work collaboratively to maximise the opportunities that exist in marketing messaging in relation to golf and other niche events; how to support partnership working to cross-sell services and products across the region and how to increase business to business sales. Londonderry Chamber and Visit Derry look forward to hosting visitors from Causeway Chamber in June to show them everything that the City of Derry has to offer.

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TOURISM

A Stone’s throw away… The Causeway Coast and Glens is one of Ireland’s most iconic tourist destinations and it really is just a stone’s throw away. The dramatic cliff edges and coastline, market towns, seaside resorts and fishing villages, award winning accommodation and restaurants, magnificent beaches, Ireland’s oldest whiskey distillery, ancient castles and a breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage

Site present one of the most stunning areas on the globe and it’s right on your doorstep. For thrill seekers, there are endless opportunities for new experiences. Whether it’s kayaking, canoeing, surfing, abseiling, or zip-lining or coasteering there is a challenge for even the most hardened adventurers.

The definition of

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spectacular Find tranquility and relaxation at country parks like Roe Valley or the gorgeous Glenariff Forest Park. A stroll along one of eight beaches will reinvigorate the soul - from the seven-mile long Benone Beach to the stunning Whiterocks in Portrush flanked by limestone cliffs and beyond to Ballycastle Beach framed by the attractive marina offering ferry departures to Rathlin Island. You can’t take a trip to the Causeway Coast and Glens without visiting our most famous tourist attraction - the Giant’s Causeway. Renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt, it’s the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. † Whiterocks, Portrush #VisitCauseway visitcausewaycoastandglens.com

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A short drive from the Giant’s Causeway is the nerve-wracking crossing of the 30-metre high Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. History buffs will enjoy Mussenden Temple - a 1700s’ library balancing on a cliff edge or the ruins of the 1500s’ Dunluce Castle where a tumultuous story is told and at Bushmills Distillery you will find another top attraction at Ireland’s oldest working distillery, originally granted a license to distil by King James I in 1608. There’s never been a better time to take a trip to the Causeway Coast and Glens.

For more information and ideas go to www.visitcausewaycoastandglens.com


TOURISM

BISHOP’S GATE HOTEL CELEBRATES ITS FIRST BIRTHDAY The award winning Bishop’s Gate hotel in DerryLondonderry, which was unveiled as one of the UK’s top 25 rated hotels by TripAdvisor earlier this year, has celebrated its first birthday. Within the hotel’s first year of trading it has exceeded both occupancy and business targets. Ciaran O’Neill, operator of Bishop’s Gate and President of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation discusses the initial projections and how these have been surpassed:   “At Bishop’s Gate, delivering the best accommodation, food and

service is our priority and we work tirelessly to provide experiences that exceed expectations whilst positioning ourselves as one of Northern Ireland’s leading destinations. This approach has paid off. Within our first year, we have exceeded the occupancy levels projected in our business plan and we are currently employing almost twice the number of people that we anticipated. We set out to create 48 jobs and we’ve created 76. “In the month of March, as we celebrated our first year of trading, we have welcomed over 12,000 visitors. Our amazing

Ciaran O’Neill, operator of Bishop’s Gate and President of Northern Ireland Hotels Federation marks the hotel’s first birthday with his wife Anne Marie and staff.

team is committed to excellence and this is reflected in the comments and feedback we receive. Visitors have described the food experience as ‘a fantastic

eatery’ while the sensitively restored, exuberant Edwardian surroundings have regularly been termed a ‘fantastic overnight luxury stop’.”

MEETINGS & EVENTS Bishop's Gate Hotel is the ideal place for great minds to discuss great ideas... ● Suitable for events from 6 - 90 delegates ● Event spaces boast natural daylight ● Complimentary Wi-Fi access ● 3 unique private dining areas ● 30 bedrooms available for residential delegates

t:

Bishop’s Gate Hotel, 24 Bishop Street, Derry~Londonderry, BT48 6PP 028 7114 0300 e : sales@bishopsgatehotelderry.com w : bishopsgatehotelderry.com

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NEWS

Top Professional Golfers Set to ‘Tee’ Off at Walled City of Derry Pro Am Tournament The largest event in this year’s PGA calendar, the Walled City of Derry Pro Am tournament, is set to take place in Derry City on 26th and 27th August 2017.

Lady Mayor Alderman Hilary McClintock and officials from City of Derry Golf Club and Foyle Golf Centre launch the Walled City of Derry Pro Am tournament, which will take place in Derry City on 26th and 27th August 2017.

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For the first time ever the two courses, City of Derry Golf Club and Foyle International Golf Centre, will be getting in on the action on both days. This will provide a larger number of competitors with the opportunity to put their skills to the test, while also promoting the local offering to a wide range of visitors.   Launching the Walled City Pro Am golf tournament Odhran Dunne, General Manager, Visit Derry said;                       “Ireland’s North West region is currently at the forefront of golf tourism on the island and whilst this tournament will be an excellent opportunity to promote the quality of the city’s parkland golf, it will further enhance our reputation as a central hub for golfers to enjoy a premier golf and tourism experience.”   Visit Derry in partnership with Derry City and Strabane Council are sponsoring the tournament which will be one of the top attractions in the North West social and sporting calendar this summer.   In 2013, Derry-Londonderry was awarded City of Culture status and enjoyed a change of attitude, a new pride in cultural identity and an acceptance not so evident before. It was an incredible and sensational year as the City hosted a raft of events. It was brilliant for the region and helped to spread the word about what a wonderful place it is.   Attracting premium sporting events such as the Walled City of Derry Pro Am tournament is critical for the region. It has been

four years since a golfing competition of this magnitude took place and local businesses such as Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Diageo NI, Total Golf, Nuprint, Desmond Motors, Partridge Peartree and Mint Bet have been instrumental in attracting Irish PGA professionals back to the City. This tournament will showcase local and international talent, while making a significant contribution to the local economy.    Michael McCumiskey, secretary of the PGA in Ireland, explains who can get involved and how;   “This event will attract the top Irish PGA Professionals from all over Ireland. They will be competing against each other for the title and guaranteed prize pot of 15,000 euros whilst teams of three amateurs will compete alongside the professional for the coveted team prize.  The event will have both Ladies and Gents sections.    “On the Friday a junior event will take place, which is kindly supported by Irish PGA professionals. Undoubtedly, golf enthusiasts from across the North West and further afield will be keen to see PGA professionals play and I’m sure there will be high demand for spaces on teams. It will be a very busy weekend for the City.”   To obtain an entry form contact: Sammy at City of Derry Golf Club on 028 7131 1496 or Conor at Foyle International Golf Centre on 028 7135 2222.


NEWS

Business ‘boost support’ available through EU funded Council programme Businesses across the Derry City and Strabane District Council area are being encouraged to avail of specialist business advice and support that will be available soon through the Business Boost Programme. Derry City and Strabane District Council has received funding from Invest NI under the EU Investment for Growth & Jobs Programme (2014-2020) LED Measure to deliver this programme. As part of the BBP, Council’s Business section will be providing specialist tailored business support to micro and small enterprises in the local Council area.

Louise Breslin, Business Development Manager, said the programme aims to develop a series of sector specific interventions that will support the development of a more prosperous economy within the Council area. She says: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to avail of specialist support that will help them develop their businesses and equip them to become more competitive in indigenous and export markets. This funded programme allows us to support the creation of new sustainable jobs in the Council area as well as act as a support for local entrepreneurs and

businesses with high growth potential.” Encouraging local businesses to register their interest for the programme, Louise says the BBP has the potential to assist companies to create new jobs, promote business growth and facilitate innovation. She added: “The BBP will be available to businesses based in the Derry City & Strabane District Council area and is targeted specifically at small/ micro enterprises and social enterprises that employ up to 50 people. We are very hopeful that over the course of this three year programme we can create up to 400 jobs in the

council area, recruit at least 600 businesses to participate on the programme and deliver a minimum of 1,300 days direct mentoring support to participants.” She added that Council also intends to host a series of workshops and networking opportunities as part of the project. For those interested in finding out more about the programme and how to get involved contact Council’s Business Officers: Tara.Nicholas@derrystrabane. com and Danielle.McNally @derrystrabane.com; tel 02871253253 ext. 6980& 6983.

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04/05/2017 14:32


APPOINTMENTS

Cpl Solutions

Learning Pool

1. Aimee Young

6. Steve Linney

Cpl Solutions International is delighted to welcome Aimee Young to its Derry team as IT Recruitment Consultant. Aimee has three years’ recruitment experience, primarily working on-site in both manufacturing and healthcare environments.

2. Daithí McKay

Cpl Solutions International is delighted to welcome Daithí McKay as a Senior Recruitment Consultant for Engineering & Construction. Daithí has 14 years’ experience in senior government and a high level of expertise in legislative development having served as a legislator in the NI Assembly.

Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

3. Brian Kelly

Connected Talent

Jacqui Hinds has been appointed as Director of Sales and Marketing at Dawson Hinds Creative Spaces. Her previous full time employment was as a manager in Public Sector Pensions.

5. Gavin McLaughlin

Gavin McLaughlin joined the installation team at Dawson Hinds Creative Spaces a few months ago and has just completed his full training. Gavin is responsible for the end to end installation and associated back up services.

3.

7. Shauna Buchanan

Dawson Hinds Creative Spaces

4. Jacqui Hinds

2.

Until taking up the Head of Marketing role at Learning Pool, Steve Linney ran his own digital marketing consultancy, eMRKTNG. Based in Brighton, the company worked with SMEs throughout the UK, providing results-driven marketing solutions.

Shauna joined the Chamber in May as Membership Services Executive having previously worked with the company on a voluntary basis as part of her BCS (Hons) Accounting and Human Resource Management degree at Ulster University.

Brian Kelly has recently joined the sales team at Dawson Hinds Creative Spaces. His role is to build close working relationships with both current and potential clients in an attempt to help grow the business.

1.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8. Victoria Withington

Victoria has joined the Connected Talent team as a permanent member of staff after her Internship ended in May 2017. Victoria is RPO Onsite Manager for one of Connected Talent’s flagship clients in the healthcare space.

9. Kerrie McLaughlin

Kerrie graduated with a BSc Hons in Public Relations and was recently appointed as the Sourcing & Marketing Executive for Connected Talent in the Galway Office.

New Appointments Section in Partnership with MPA Recruitment www.mparecruitment.co.uk


APPOINTMENTS

8.

9.

Big Moo Design

10.

10. Charmaine Moore

Charmaine Moore has recently joined Big Moo Design as a Partner. She has over 10 years’ experience in the finance sector, with degree qualifications from both Queens University Belfast and University of Ulster.

McDonald’s 11. Dermond Rooney

11.

12.

Dermond has recently been promoted to Business Manager, McDonald’s Crescent Link Retail Park. Dermond initially joined McDonald’s as a part-time student while studying law at University.

13.

Scattr 12. Eimear Gillen

Eimear is a recent BSc Business & Marketing Management graduate and joined Scattr in March 2017 as Marketing Executive.

13. Kevin Campbell 14.

As of March 2017, Kevin is completing his placement year at Scattr as part of his BSc Business Studies and has been appointed as Sales Executive.

Globaltec NI 14. Globaltec NI is a new local

firm located in Springtown Ind Est Derry, specialising in rigging and installation of machinery within the semi-conductor and pharmaceutical industries, designing and manufacturing anti- vibration islands throughout the UK and Ireland. Pictured left to right is; Michael Hamill, Aaron Feeny, Darren Mc Cormick, Samuel Mc Elhinney, Tommy Kelly and Director David Mc Garrigle.

Finding talent for our partners throughout the North West for over 20 years Contact Paul McQue MD MPA Tel: 028 71 360070 (M) 074 1493 560

www.mparecruitment.co.uk


FEATURE

James Nesbitt at the President’s Lunch Chancellor of Ulster University, actor and football fan, James Nesbitt, talks to editor, Jackie Logan, about growing up in Northern Ireland, acting, his role in the Bloody Sunday film and partnership with the Magee Campus. James Nesbitt talks to editor, Jackie Logan

Having been a big fan of many of the television series that James Nesbitt has played a key role in, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I met the man in person. I can say he is a witty and engaging speaker holding the audience in the palm of his hand as he delivered the keynote speech in the City Hotel for the President’s Lunch in mid-February. There is no doubt that he is a very busy man given the recent and very different television series from Cold Feet to Stan Lee’s Lucky Man to The Missing and The Secret, a mark of a sought after actor, James can be found across our television screens quite frequently.

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Talking about his life and career, James began by mentioning: “I was awarded the Ireland Fund for Great Britain’s Contribution to the Irish Cultural Life in the UK award just before Christmas and it gave me pause for thought as I reflected on my life, career and culture. “Mahatma Ghandi said ‘A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people’; this is certainly true of the Irish. “I was born in to a protestant culture, in Broughshane, at the foothills of Slemish. My father was the principal of a small school, some 40 children and life was glorious and idyllic. However, my father taught and encouraged me to embrace all cultures. I and my three older sisters, were taught the piano by Sister Cecila at St

Louis in Ballymena. “I was quite young when I moved to Coleraine and then Castlerock, and I had my first acting role in the Riverside Theatre where I played the Artful Dodger, some would say I haven’t stopped playing that role. However, many years later I have the privilege of being the Chancellor of the Ulster University, more about that later.” Mentioning that along with his father, his three sisters were all teachers, he set off to Jordanstown, Ulster University to study French and Education with a view to teaching. “There probably was more socialising than studying and I quickly realised that I wanted to be an actor. I was too terrified


FEATURE

to tell my parents, as I knew they would be horrified so I got my sister to tell them. My mother didn’t speak to me for a month but my enthusiasm for acting ultimately won them over and they became very supportive. “I then went to the Central School of Speech and Drama in London” and he quickly chirps “all you need to know is Olivia, Dench and Nesbitt.” He notes he managed to get regular work, mainly in England but that he was never forced to change his Northern Irish accent. “My Northern Irish accent became the focus of attention, and in retrospect, I realised that it was a chance to use it away from all of the political baggage and divorced from the negativity that was associated with Northern Ireland. At that time, films tended to concentrate on only one story – there are now new stories but to be involved in those stories as an actor was such a privilege. For me it was so important as it is who I am, I’m proud of being Irish, being from Northern Ireland and proud of this accent.

It is clear that quality education is not a luxury it is essential for a society to progress on the path it needs. with Catholics, you could say there was a real sense of denial about what was going on. “I was born before the troubles and was more worried about my voice breaking and girls and then, of course, I was away in my 20s. The troubles formed the backdrop to most of my adult life. “Bloody Sunday shook my indifference, if indifference it was. For me and many may think differently about what happened that day, but my involvement in the project was a huge moment for me – it was important as an actor and for the understanding of myself and of me, as an Ulsterman. What happened January 1972 was a watershed – many young men joined the IRA with sense of rage and injustice. As an Ulster protestant I was hugely suspicious of such a film. “I was to tell the story of a nationalist protestant man, Ivan Cooper and I was worried what the families would think and what my own community would

My Northern Irish accent became the focus of attention, and in retrospect, I realised that it was a chance to use it away from all of the political baggage and divorced from the negativity that was associated with Northern Ireland.

“The award I mentioned was about the notion of peace and reconciliation. I may not have known as young fella what that was, but my role in the Bloody Sunday film changed that. My firm belief was that those born or living through the Troubles were impacted in some way. “For me, my initial response to the troubles was to ignore it or treat it with indifference and although there were real hot spots of conflict, I co-existed

think. I did attract much vitriol, as did my parents. The script was tightly written and I wish I hadn’t read it but I couldn’t walk away. “My story has a way to go but my realisation – cathartic, that this country and their neighbours had let these conditions happen – the devastation that happened that day and many other tragic days. I couldn’t just turn up and deliver the lines, maybe I can

see where this job of being an actor can have some worth. “I could no longer pretend that I couldn’t take this job seriously – reinforced later by my part in Five Minutes of Heaven and The Secret – we had to put ourselves back in 1972 and be part of the story that meant hearing all of the stories of those involved, including the soldiers and the families of the victims. “Understanding and listening to their stories and how those events impacted on them and their families to bring around an enduring reconciliation. I now realise drama has its small part to play and as the Director Paul Greengrass said at the time, ‘if Bloody Sunday can be a pebble on the wall of the peace then we have achieved something’. “I also address you today as Chancellor of Ulster University, I’m very proud to hold that role and my colleagues at the University are about everyday facilitating of our young people to play a role in the development of Northern Ireland’s society and I am particularly proud of our presence at the Magee Campus. “It is clear that quality education is not a luxury it is essential for a society to progress on the path it needs and deliver a more enriched and productive society. If the commitment to higher education is genuine we need to invest and invest heavily in a quality higher education sector for our young people. It is far too important and can’t be left to chance – we at the Ulster University know that – our message to you is – we need strong partners in business and community. “You will have heard of Professor Paddy Nixon’s plans; the development of higher

education not least the Graduate Entry medical school. Plans are progressing at apace but we need you with us, as we seek to deliver this and as we enhance those plans for the economic development of this region. “Of course the progress of economic development is not easy. It needs leaders who have vision and desire, that care for all sections of community; business owners, workers, politicians, academia, social services and social enterprises – leaders who are from the community and of the community. “That of course is very much the vision of the Ulster University’s expansion of the Magee Campus. It will not work if it is the sole responsibility of the academics and the students, it has to be of the community where there is the sharing of the good times, supporting the community in tougher times, a campus where there is fun and laughter, there may be some setbacks, occasional sadness but ultimately the success will be shared by so many.” “It is a delight for me to be back in the City, thank you for the work of the Chamber and what it does for this City. “I will end with a quote from the former US President, Barack Obama; ‘We, the People, recognise that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals’. “Everyone should be given the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

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FEATURE

Working together and Connectivity Toni Forrestor, CEO, Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce comments on staying connected. Connectivity has become a term we all use regularly these days. As a Chamber, we use it most notably in relation to our roads, broadband and mobile networks. We talk about always being connected and our young people certainly expect connectivity. However, maybe we should be looking at connectivity in a broader sense as to how it connects people and places. As a Chamber we are agents for networking and encourage our members to make connections with others on an ongoing basis with the reality that people buy from people.

with our colleagues in Derry much more frequently to the benefit of the region as a whole. Our respective councils have cemented the cross border connection through their Strategic Growth Partnership and we now, where possible, and when relevant, are working towards the North West City Region principle. The Brexit result, while disappointing to many of us, has brought our cross border connectivity into even more clear focus. Our member companies of all sizes and types are reviewing their growth plans.

“

Our respective councils have cemented the cross border connection through their Strategic Growth Partnership and we now, where possible, and when relevant, are working towards the North West City Region principle.

�

During the financial crash the North West region connecting Donegal to Derry and Northern Ireland went off the agenda as, on this side of the border at least, we became a little more insular and concerned with individual business survival. Thankfully as the economy recovered we have become once again more outward looking and for the last two years have been meeting with and working

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They are analysing their supply chains and we are all hoping for clarity as the months pass in terms of border arrangements. However, we should not allow this to deflect us from our natural connectivity. Our geographical location binds us together and it is clear that we have more in common that can be used to grow our region. Together Donegal Council

and Derry City & Strabane District Council makes up the third largest city region on the island of Ireland. We are connected by family, jobs and basic everyday services. Our connectivity to the rest of the island in terms of infrastructure is not up to standard and no matter what happens with Brexit, we will continue to have this as a top priority.

As our councils take a lead role in this cross border work, we hope that senior politicians and decision makers in Ireland and the EU will recognise the unique relationships that we have here on the North West border and continue to enable us to remain connected and, more importantly, to allow the region to grow and develop into a strong regional economy!


NEWS

Award Winning Innovation Centre set to Expand Catalyst Inc is delighted to announce, that in the last month, plans have been submitted for the next phase of development on the site. This will see another 50,000 square feet of business ready infrastructure available to meet the growing demand of innovation companies in the North West. Opened in in September 2014, the Innovation Centre in DerryLondonderry is home to over 25 companies covering sectors such as enterprise software, digital media, health and bioscience. The focus is on using their world-class facilities to

build an innovation ecosystem to help the region’s knowledgebased economy prosper. They are dedicated to supporting the creation and scaling of innovation companies and have enhanced their cross-border reach through their close partnership with Letterkenny Institute of Technology and its Colab facility. The work space ranges from hot desks for budding entrepreneurs to bespoke offices for larger and growing companies ensuring tenants can avail themselves of all the support needed to bring their

The Catalyst Inc team Paul Clancy, Eliza Harvey, Philip Maguire, Philip Gilliland (Board Member), Andy McDonald, John Knapton.

ideas to life. All of this is underpinned with high-speed resilient Internet provision linked to the Kelvin telecommunications network. With agile meeting space, onsite catering and parking, the Innovation Centre has been host to a number of events and has become an important part of the North West landscape. The Innovation Centre is fully let and tenants have shown

 CatalystIncHQ

_ AT THE HEART OF INNOVATION IN THE NORTH WEST - State-of-the-art Facilities - Bookable meeting & event space - On-site Data Services - Flexible Tenancies - Connect Development Programmes

LET’S TALK. LET’S SHARE. LET’S CONNECT. For more details contact Eliza Harvey at eliza.harvey@catalyst-inc.org

average growth of 34%, a testament to the quality of the innovative companies across the North West region. Their vision is for Northern Ireland to be one of the most entrepreneurial knowledge economies in Europe by 2030, and the development in Derry-Londonderry is an important element of achieving this vision.


BUSINESS AWARDS

The North West Business Awards 2017

From left are; Eugene Kearney, Bank of Ireland, principal sponsor presenting the North West Business of the Year award to Robbie O’Brien, MetaCompliance at the North West Business Awards at the Everglades Hotel. Also included, from left, are Christine Graham, George Fleming, President, Chamber of Commerce, Eamonn Jennings, Ellen Macleay and Hugh Hegarty, City Centre Initiative.

The 2017 North West Business Awards took place at the Everglades Hotel in Derry-Londonderry and saw many business men and women attend the annual awards. This was the second year the popular business awards covered the whole of the North West including Donegal and Strabane and with it saw an excellent number of entries from across the region. Supported by Bank of Ireland UK and organised and hosted jointly by the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

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and the City Centre Initiative, the awards are a very public acknowledgement and celebration of the quality of the best local enterprises in the region. The event began with the Chamber’s President George Fleming welcoming all those present and stating that the judges had a difficult job as there were many good businesses, with good managers and staff creating wealth and prosperity across the region. Recognising the quality and talent of local businesses the awards highlighted

many sectors in the North West from export to tourism. The room was full of winners as they attended the most prestigious ceremony in the North West. Some of the best known businesses in the area were among the winners, MetaCompliance won Business of the Year, and Liam Bradley from Bradley’s Pharmacy, was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year. On winning the Business of the Year Award, Robert O’Brien, CEO of MetaCompliance, said; “We have won awards in London and other places and


BUSINESS AWARDS

this is the first award we have won in our home town so this is just that little bit more special to be awarded the North West Business of the Year by people in Derry. “MetaCompliance is a global cybersecurity company, we fend off hacking attacks, data breaches, keep people safe online, protect their digital assets and protect their good name. The company is growing exponentially and as a result we are moving soon in to Patrick Street and have also just opened an office in Atlanta as we strategically target business in the US.” Liam Bradley, MD of Bradley’s Pharmacy, was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year. Encouraged from a very young age by his father he established the company in 1990. He said; “This award is quite unexpected and to achieve an award from your peers is quite a pat on the back. Out of everyone in the Derry area I am very surprised to have received it but nonetheless extremely delighted.” Hugh Hegarty, Chairman of the City Centre Initiative, added, “We wish to acknowledge the hard work, excellent service and ultimately, the benefit to our city gained from our superior business establishments and service providers. Our grateful thanks also go to our generous sponsors, whose support made the night possible.”

Paul and Julie McNaught.

George Fleming, President and Sinead McLaughlin, chief executive, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, presenting the Growth through Export Award to Brigeen Peto, Aerona Software.

Eamon Morrow, DSV, presenting the North West Entrepreneur of the Year Award to Liam Bradley, Bradley’s Pharmacy.

Craft Award Finalist, Edel MacBride enjoying the evening.

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BUSINESS AWARDS

winners North West Pub of the Year

Sponsored by: BHP Security Solutions

BlackBird ***************

North West Restaurant of the Year

Sponsored by: Derry City and Strabane District Council

Primrose on the Quay ***************

North West Guest Accommodation Provider of the Year Sponsored by: Electric Ireland

Bishop’s Gate Hotel ***************

Outstanding Contribution to Arts and Culture Sponsored by: Richmond Centre

Studio 2/ Greater Shantallow Community Arts ***************

Best Tourism Event or Initiative Sponsored by: Hegarty’s

Brian Kelly, Lucy Sproule, Janice Sproule and Elaine Kelly pictured at the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce North West Business Awards at the Everglades Hotel.

DCSDC Foyle Maritime Festival ***************

Excellence in Innovation

Sponsored by: MPA Recruitment

MultiShower GB ***************

North West Creative Industries of the Year Sponsored by: Foyleside Shopping Centre

Revolve Comics ***************

North West Craft Industry of the Year Sponsored by: Londonderry Inner City Trust

Marble Hill ***************

Growth through Export Award

Sponsored by: Chamber of Commerce

Aerona Software ***************

Best Use of Digital and/or Social Media Sponsored by: Seagate

Taggart Homes

Bank of Ireland UK’s Eugene Kearney and Paul Martin.

***************

North West Retailer of the Year Award Sponsored by: Derry News

Curtis Opticians ***************

Professional Services Award

Sponsored by: Hastings Everglades Hotel

Hamilton Architects ***************

MBA Excellence Award

Sponsored by: Ulster University

Charles Mullan ***************

Entrepreneur of the Year Sponsored by: DSV

Liam Bradley ***************

Business of the Year

Sponsored by: Bank of Ireland

MetaCompliance Karen and Darren Bradley, pictured at the Everglades Hotel.

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BUSINESS AWARDS

Hugh Hegarty, Ian Crowe, Brian Doherty and George Fleming, president, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, pictured at the North West Business Awards.

Staff from Angry Cherry and Revolve Comics, pictured enjoying the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce/ City Centre Initiative North West Business Awards.

Hugh Hegarty, Hegarty’s, presenting the Best Tourism Event or Initiative award to Helena Hasson and Jacqueline Whoriskey of the Foyle Maritime Fetival.

Chamber President, George Fleming with his wife Doreen

The Boys from Revolve Comics Celebrate their win of North West Creative Industries Business of the Year Award

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FEATURE

Solving the skilled welding and fabrication shortage The US welding industry will face a shortage of about 300,000 operators by 2020 according to the American Welding Society. In 2015, nearly a quarter of all job openings were left vacant because employers could not find people with the necessary skills or knowledge to fill them. This is a 130pc rise since 2011, according to a 2015 Employer Skills Survey (ESS) from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES). George Fleming, President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, along with key business people has identified that very same key skills gap in the North West. The best route to qualifications and a career for young people leaving school is not always via university. “For far too long the only course of action promoted by many in secondary schools, has been university and gaining a third level qualification. In my opinion there are many other skills such as joinery, electrical, welding and fabrication, that offer apprenticeships and a path to a career that offer good salaries and working conditions with a major benefit of no student loan to pay off when you have qualified. “The perception is that welding and fabrication is not seen as a sexy career, but you are earning a wage from the day you start and there is a job waiting for you when you qualify. Over the past 25 years, many of the welding and fabrication trainees and apprentices that have come through the apprenticeship scheme and qualified with Fleming Agri and AE Global for example have gone on to travel around the world and every one of them were able to get employment with their experience and qualifications. “I’m not sure that people really understand the wealth of training and work that is available to them on their doorstep through the North West Regional College and local industry. The secondary education system only seems to promote third level education as a means to a career path without really understanding what is available at home. They really need to get to grips with what is available locally!

The perception is that welding and fabrication is not seen as a sexy career, but you are earning a wage from the day you start and there is a job waiting for you when you qualify. “There is a rich engineering heritage in the North West, there are currently a number of engineering companies such as; Gallagher McKinney, AE Global, Fab-Plus, Fast Engineering, GB Engineering, E+I Engineering, MIM Engineering and quite a few others employing thousands of staff, all with vacancies for welder fabricators however their businesses are being stifled by a lack of trained staff coming through. “We need to ensure that young men and women are aware that studying for a skilled trade, like welding, is a good option, that it pays good wages and that it will stand them in good stead for the rest of their working life.” To this end George Fleming has set up a working group involving local engineering companies and the North West Regional College to develop not only a new course but also new technologies to make it easier to train new recruits and allow local and indigenous businesses to grow with local talent.

The timeline is immediate with a 12 – 16 week training course with an interview at the end of it. Four weeks of that will be as a trial with a company in a working environment. “We are hoping to recruit 16-20 people for the new course with the potential for trainees to go on and achieve higher welding qualifications as required by them or their sponsor company. I’m delighted with the engagement we’ve had to date not just with the fellow engineering companies but also from Leo Murphy and Samantha Traynor of the North West Regional College and the enthusiasm from Nicola Curry in particular. This is a good thing for our young people and for the local engineering industry.” Kieran Conor of AE Global said at the President’s lunch in April, “you shouldn’t fear the possibility of training your employees in case they leave, you should be more concerned if you DON’T train them and they stay!”

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Lond


2017/18 part-time course Information available to view Online now!

Enro lments Open!

Visit www.nwrc.ac.uk/parttime for more information. To request a printed copy of our Course Guide email info@nwrc.ac.uk or call (028) 7127 6084

Londonderry Chamber of Commerce (full page) 210x297mm.indd 1

02/05/2017 14:26:56


FEATURE

Unsung Workplace Hero CONNECTED has asked local businesses to nominate a colleague they believe deserves to be recognised for their services to their company. Our first Unsung Workplace Hero recommendation comes from MPA Recruitment. MPA Recruitment supply temporary and permanent staff across all business sectors. The company has a separate Healthcare Division and work with clients across Northern Ireland from its offices in Derry – Londonderry, Belfast, Coleraine and Omagh. Paul McQue, managing director MPA Recruitment explains why he has chosen his colleague Nuala McQuaid, who works as a Senior Account Manager, to be featured in this edition; “Nuala has spent the past 13 years recruiting talent for our partners throughout the North West and is widely regarded as the ‘go to’ person in the region for recruitment assistance. From recruiting large numbers of operatives for the area’s leading manufacturing companies to supplying all of the learning support staff to the NWRC and also leading MPA’s current status as the recruitment partner for Derry and Strabane Council, Nuala is undoubtedly an unsung hero.    “She’s just one of those stand out employees that almost all of our organisations have.  Nuala quietly and confidently sets about leading over 30 client relationships and interviews in excess of 300 people each year. She’s a valued member of our management set up here at MPA and I know how much our clients value and rely upon Nuala’s seasoned expertise in

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recruitment throughout this region.” CONNECTED met up with Nuala to find out more about what she enjoys best about her role and what it is that motivates her.

Nuala McQuaid

Senior Account Manager, MPA Recruitment

How long have you worked at MPA Recruitment? I have worked at MPA Recruitment since 2004.

What does your role involve? I am a senior recruiter and manager at MPA Recruitment. There are two main aspects of my role. One is clients and the other is candidates - both equally important as without one the other doesn’t exist. I register candidates daily and these can range from someone looking for a new role or someone looking for short term work for example students. I have a portfolio of clients who I deal with and when I have a new vacancy I will match the job role with a suitable candidate. I have a long term relationship with all my clients so I can match candidates well to their organisation and find someone who will fit the culture of the organisation. I also manage a temporary desk, filling temporary positions in many different sectors including industrial, clerical and social work.

What is your favourite aspect of your job? I love that my job involves meeting different people every single day who from all types of employment backgrounds. Although the best part of my job is hearing back from the candidate about how they are getting on in their new role, it’s also great to receive positive feedback from the client. It gives me a real sense of a job

well done and I never tire of that feeling!

What has been the highlight of your career to date? I’ve been working for MPA for the past 13 years so I have many highlights! The best is seeing MPA grow year on year and generally being part of that success along with working with an excellent team.

What advice would you give someone starting out in their career? The advice I would give someone starting out in their career is make sure you spend time developing a really good CV. This is the initial tool that will get you in front of a company. So many CVs I see are all downloaded formats from the Internet and lack individuality. This is an opportunity to sell yourself but many people fail

to recognise this. Also be open to learn all that you can. Listen, observe and most importantly do not be afraid to ask questions. I also believe the basics are extremely important as well, be on time, dress professionally if it is required within your role, show your new employer you are flexible and always speak to fellow colleagues and customers politely and with confidence.

How would you describe yourself to someone who had never met you? A quiet person but friendly too!

What do you like to do outside of work? I’m a keen golfer and I also love spending time with my family and friends.


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NEWS

Kevin Watson Group Helps to Bring new Holiday Inn to Derry Eglinton based construction company Kevin Watson Group (KWG) is working with the Duddy Group on the new Holiday Inn Express Hotel at the former Strand Bar and Nightclub, Derry

retail units and will provide accommodation for up to 50,000 visitors a year bringing significant additional revenue to the city,” explained managing director Kevin Watson.

The new hotel is a design & build project, furthering the company’s already extensive experience, as it has in the past completed design & build projects in the commercial, residential and retail sectors previously. “The hotel will have 116 bedrooms, a Marco Pierre New York Italian Restaurant, two meeting rooms and three

This hotel is another flagship project for KWG who has in the past completed a number of well-known projects, including Da Vinci’s Hotel and the Lifford Greyhound Stadium. With continued year on year growth, KWG is currently constructing a £15m residential project in Derry, another £8m

project in Belfast and due to commence a £5.5m project in London in 2017. The London project is a first for KWG and it is the company’s ambition to use this as a springboard to continued growth and expansion into the UK. The scheme is a ‘Design

& Build’ project for Ealing Council, and the business has employed a local Derry based design team led by Hamilton Architects. The project comprises 22 apartments in two separate blocks and five three storey houses with mixed tenure for private sale and affordable rent.

CONTINUALLY STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE & QUALITY, THE KEVIN WATSON GROUP IS COMMITTED TO PROVIDING HIGH QUALITY SOLUTIONS TO ARCHITECTURAL AND ENGINEERING CHALLENGES Operating since 1987, Kevin Watson Group works across multiple sectors in accordance with an integrated ISO 9001 Quality Management System and ISO 14001 Environmental Management System.

www.kevinwatsongroup.com | Tel: 02871 812245


FEATURE

Welcome to The Chamber For the First time, CONNECTED are highlighting some of the Chamber’s newest members. Let us introduce you to the wide range of members that we are representing across the North West. Will your business be featured next edition?

#GrowingBusinessNW

harry’s

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FEATURE

Marble Hill develops and manufactures a range of unique and luxurious skin care products that are 100% natural and have proved beneficial to the wellbeing. Marble Hill is a company set up with the passion and vision of CEO, Dr Maria McGee, as the driving force behind their customer focused business plan.

A boutique social recruitment agency that uses the power of social. The company believes traditional recruitment practises are outdated. talentsocial understands your industry and takes time to get to know your unique culture, this helps them find the right people for your company.

For the past 12 years Devine Mortgage and Insurance Services based in Derry has provided a professional angle in the fields of Mortgages and Insurance Advice. Through a service driven approach, the company makes the whole process about you.

Dalradian Resources Inc. is a gold exploration and development company that is focused on advancing its high-grade Curraghinalt Gold Project located in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. The company is completing a work program in support of a planning (permitting) application for construction of an operating mine at Curraghinalt.

The Play Shed Indoor Soft Play Centre opened its doors in April 2014. With two custom designed play frames, one for baby and toddlers and one for juniors, The Play Shed can accommodate 112 children with adequate seating for all. The Play Shed will offer children’s parties in the two party rooms which can also be opened into one big play area.

Last year, from the Health and Social Care Trust, FCA had over 305 referrals of children and young people who desperately needed a foster carer to provide a safe, stable and caring home. Although a small region, the FCA office is full of personality & pride in the fact the company is helping ordinary people do extraordinary things.

Conexus Recovery and Field Services is a Debt Recovery and Field Business based in Coleraine Northern Ireland. Conexus Recovery and Field Services principle is to deliver outstanding collection services that meet its clients needs within both the non-regulated, regulated and compliant business groups.

The mission at KMC Fire and Security is to deliver the highest level of service, whilst offering a complete security solution. KMC Fire & Security allows you peace of mind knowing your property and personal belongings are safe, with the company’s installation, maintenance of security solutions.

A professional theatre company set up in 1997. Sole Purpose aims to produce new theatre that contributes to social change, explores the dynamics of human relationships and promotes good relations. Sole Purpose brings art to the heart of the social, economic and creative life of communities locally, nationally and internationally.

O’Neills is Ireland’s largest sportswear manufacturer and the largest employer in Strabane. The company is planning to employ an additional 157 jobs over the next 3 years. O’Neills was founded in 1918 and will celebrate 100 years in Business next year.

Our cutting-edge product design team at Medi-Shower has developed and patented a healthcare product that enables institutions to reduce the risk of water-born infection, meet budgets and offer a standard showering option for all healthcare organisations.

GB Engineering has over 40 years’ experience in the sheet metal fabrication business. Based at Maydown on the outskirts of Derry/Londonderry, the company provides a variety of products and services to a wide range of industries both north and south of the border.

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FEATURE

harry’s Harry’s Shack is positioned on the Beach of the World Famous Portstewart Strand. Renowned for its great local food and its relaxed surroundings it’s a must visit for tourists and locals alike. Harry’s Restaurant in Derry’s Craft Village offers something new & different for the city.

Connect Telecom is one of the leading telecoms providers in the market. The company’s approach appoints not only a dedicated Account Manager to each of its corporate clients but delivers regular, face-to-face account management to each customer. This has allowed the company to carve out a niche and become one of the leading telecoms solutions providers in the UK market.

Evide is a community interest company that specialises in SaaS (software as a service) and impact consultancy. Evide provide digital solutions, consultancy and training to help organisations to report on their outputs, outcomes, measure impact and prove their social value.

Lyreco Office and Work Solutions aims to simplify life at work. Among the company’s 7,500 stocked products is Nespresso coffee and coffee machines at great prices and delivered next day. Lyreco will make it easier for you to control budget and spend.

The province’s only Hyundai and ŠKODA dealership with a unique perspective on the fleet and business market. Mulholland has a dedicated fleet sales department focused on providing the highest possible level of service to the business community.

GlobaltecNI is perfectly placed to undertake the most complex and intricate lifting projects. A team of experienced multidisciplinary engineers investigate and prepare lifting schemes and tailor-make solutions for complex lifting operations. GlobaltecNI’s range of lifting equipment includes bespoke modular tower systems, hydraulic lift systems and flotation skids.

Highland Radio is situated in Donegal’s largest town, the bustling and commercial centre of Letterkenny. Broadcasting across Donegal and large parts of counties Derry and Tyrone. Highland Radio is ideally situated to reach a large audience throughout the entire North West of Ireland.

Waterhouse is an Independent Financial Planning company that provides a comprehensive range of advice services to both personal and corporate clients. The company is focused on building strong long-term relationships with clients based on trust and a focused service delivery.

Stage Beyond is a theatre company for young adults with learning disabilities. The company is made up of 26 members from throughout the North West, who already have shown a keen interest in drama. These actors research, devise and tour shows as well as providing accompanying workshops.

Zymplify is a cloud based, easy to use and affordable digital marketing software that empowers marketers to grow revenues, increase margins, add value and gain insights. Zymplify brings together all the marketers requirements across owned, earned and paid media into one integrated platform.

The fastest growing HR consultancy firm in the UK and Republic of Ireland. HR Team offers employment law and strategic human resource services to business start-ups, SMEs and large multinational organisations. HR Team experts will ensure your company is compliant with employment law in your jurisdiction.

Big Moo Design, the designers of the magazine you are holding! It is a local, family run business that specialises in design, print, and media. The company places great importance on high quality, reliability and a speedy service. Big Moo is a quirky character in itself; a friendly business where you can arrange a unique design consultation, one with tea, buns, and cow based puns!

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FEATURE

The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce –

Connecting Business North West. In the current climate, here in the North West local businesses are facing many struggles both new and familiar: The need to raise your profile, questions and concerns about Brexit, or the struggle to connect with like-minded, forward thinking business people. As a business in the North West region you need access to appropriate and relevant support for your business, you want to be discovering new business opportunities, and most importantly you want to have your voice heard. The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, with over 130 years of experience, has championed the cause of commercial, social and economic development in the North West since 1885.

A Respected Voice

Being heard by the decision makers in government requires a strong and respected voice. The Londonderry Chamber keep regular contact with MPs, MEPs, MLAs and government ministers and has developed strong links with the media. We bring business issues to the top of the political agenda through clear and concise advocacy across many areas of relevance and interest to our members and the North West region as a whole. Through lobbying and representation to government and by gathering the opinions of members, views are highlighted and expressed through a number of channels including the media, political representatives and the other relevant agencies at local, regional and national level. We bring the decision makers to you… The Londonderry Chamber has hosted a number of successful ‘In

Camera’ events with political leaders and decision makers in which our members have been able to put their questions to the MP, MLA or government representative themselves.

Brexit

The Londonderry Chamber has been identified as the ‘go to’ authority on the effects of BREXIT on the North West Region. The Chamber has been actively involved in the BREXIT discussion since the beginning, and has worked, and will continue to work vigorously as the ‘Voice of the North West’ to address the many questions and concerns of the business community across the entire region.

The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce is regarded as the ‘Voice of Business’ for the North West Region.

In 2016 we represented our members interests at more than 40 meetings.

Creating Opportunities

Joining up and becoming a member is just the beginning of your journey with the Londonderry Chamber. Key to making the most of your membership is taking advantage of all of the great networking opportunities we will make available to you. With over 40 events per year, members have the potential to network with over 3,000 delegates across every sector and size of organisation.

Raise your Profile

With a membership of 500 businesses and extended audience of almost 5000 contacts and social media following, The Londonderry Chamber can ensure your business gets more attention both on the web and in print. The Londonderry Chamber offers you many ways to promote your business to a targeted audience. Not only will this increase your profile and visibility in the region and strengthen your brand, it should increase your sales opportunities and ultimately revenue generation.

40+ The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce organises more than 40 events per year. Events sre varied and cater to a number of different business needs.

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GADGETS

Okay Google, Make Yerself at Home. You know how when you were younger, your mum shouted at you for leaving the lights on if you left the room? And if you left the immersion on for longer than five minutes you got clipped around the lugs. Maybe these days you even give off to your own kids! Well now there’s something new to give off to, and you don’t have to shout, but you do have to say ‘Okay Google’ pretty calmly, we’re told. For anyone who has used the similar ‘smart speaker’ Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, the idea behind Google Home will be very familiar. Google Home lets you search the web, organise your calendar, control your smart home devices, play music, and more, using your voice. The voice-controlled smart speaker will also answer general knowledge queries, search for directions, and translate phrases. We’re often ‘Googling’ the most random of information anyway, so it seems logical to simply ‘ask’ something to do this for us. Lifting your phone out of your pocket just isn’t convenient enough anymore, so why not have Google in the house and

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just ask it yourself? The Google Home isn’t just another black box. The top blends into your home with a clean, minimal design that has no buttons and hidden LED lights. It features a capacitive touch surface for those rare moments when voice won’t do. Because every home is different, you can customise the base with different colours and finishes (metal and fabric, sold separately) to your personal taste.

The real question is, will Google Home be able to work out the Derry brogue? Will it turn the heating up if you say you’re foundered? What about if you ask Netflix to stick something on for the wains? Will it tell the difference between; flower, shower, power and hour? How does it compare with its competition – the Amazon Echo (otherwise known as Alexa)? There are

areas where Echo is better – in its smart home control for example – but Google Home tops Alexa in many ways. What’s so special about Google Home perhaps is the ability to search for pretty much anything – being tightly integrated with Google search. Google Home also edges it slightly when it comes to sound quality. The Amazon Echo just doesn’t sound as good in a like for like comparison. One thing the Amazon does have over Google is Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, which is great to play media from your device. It then comes down to cost. The Amazon Echo comes in at £149.99 whilst the Google Home weighs in at £129. It’s worth noting that the Echo Dot (smaller version) weighs in at £49.99 but this is a much smaller version without a speaker system attached. Choosing between the two isn’t wee buns, like. They’re much of a muchness with Google’s tech just edging it slightly over Amazon’s. With either one, you’ll be ‘lured stiff’.


GADGETS

How to Make the Best Use of VR for Your Business Although virtual reality may have failed to succeed in past decades, the technology and gadgets available are now more promising than ever, with all of us carrying powerful computer processors around in our pockets. The future of virtual reality (VR) is poised to change the way we shop, experience, view, communicate and even conduct business.

The goal of virtual reality is to alter a human’s perception through virtual systems. Basically, the sensory information appears so realistic to the brain that it is tricked into seeing the virtual as reality.

Here are five of the best ways you can make use of VR in your business. • TRAINING: Just as employers may use VR to help employees hone their skills, VR simulation can be used for practical training as well. Some sophisticated programmes are even being created to help doctors learn how to operate, nurses to practice finding a vein in a patient’s arm, and pilots to fly and land aircraft – all from the safety of an office room. • ADVERTISING: VR offers users an incredible experience, such as hang gliding in the Grand Canyon. They get to see incredible views and thrilling dips and dives as a virtual hang glider, and on their wrist they could see your company’s watch. Maybe the user becomes a model on a runway at Paris Fashion Week, wearing your latest design? You can apply VR to almost any product or service and sell it through an entertaining experience. • TRY BEFORE YOU BUY: VR enables businesses to promote products in an entirely new way. In select U.S. markets, Lowe’s Home Improvement store customers can design their perfect bathroom or kitchen and then, using VR, walk into the finished space and experience it as a test drive. • TOURISM: Antarctica too cold, too expensive or too far away? Take a VR trip instead. ‘Wild Within’ is a VR experience that promotes tourism in Canada’s British Columbia. Viewers travel through a rainforest using their choice of two paths — the coastline or up a mountain. Launched by Destination BC and first developed for the Oculus Rift VR headset on a desktop, ‘Wild Within’ is now available as a mobile VR app for iOS and Android. • LIVE EVENTS: Virtual reality is writing its own ticket as the new way to enjoy live events. Sports, musical performances, news events, and even theatre productions are being added to the list of content now available through VR streaming. The market is incredibly diverse as any live event can be streamed in 3D VR.

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

Hitting the Nail on the Head This edition, Darryl Campbell gets the envious job of reviewing a restaurant for CONNECTED magazine. He has visited The Rusty Nail in Clonmany, County Donegal. In a typical restaurant review, one must often look for a fault of some description. Just one that’s enough to give, what’s perceived to be, a balanced review. The Rusty Nail, however, didn’t allow for any faults. If anything, the only thing wrong here is that I’m not actually reviewing a restaurant. The Rusty Nail is a Gastro-Pub, and that’s important – here’s why. Scooping ‘Best Gastro Pub in Ulster’ 2017 by YesChef as well as ‘Best Restaurant in Ulster’ 2017 by YesChef, owners, Maresa and Enda McDonagh, explain that Gastro Pub is the best way to describe the business. “The building is over 100 years old, and used to serve all the needs of the local community, with a widely varied shop complete with animal feed to a bar and restaurant,” Maresa explained. With thick stone walls and flag stone floors creating an ambience of years gone-by, the community feel is still alive and well today. The fire roars to welcome guests at the door coupled with a warm smile from the staff – The Rusty Nail provides a friendly atmosphere to all who step through the door.

Named after former owner, a red headed man named Neal Doherty (Rusty Neal), the pub lives on in his hospitable tradition.

As I sit down at the table, I noticed Maresa attending to the guests in the restaurant, chatting and engaging with all. The waiting staff are incredibly attentive, consistently stepping in and out from the kitchen and bar areas to see if anyone needs anything. Chef patron Enda labels his food as Modern-Irish with an international influence, which makes it very difficult to choose just one thing to eat. I decide to go for the bacon and cabbage croquettes (pictured) to start with. ‘Homemade bacon’, savoy cabbage and potato, paired with parsley sauce, pickled gherkins and a white truffle oil. It becomes apparent that, whilst a pub at heart, the food is taken very seriously here. My partner opts for the local seafood chowder served with spelt and honey sourdough bread. As the starters arrive, the smells are exquisite and I chat briefly to the waitress who tells me that the herbs are freshly grown in Enda and Maresa’s garden, a few kilometres away, and that all of the food is sourced locally where possible. The starters are delicious, with the pickled gherkin providing the perfect balance for the creamy sauce and croquette. The seafood chowder is also finely tuned, with the potatoes cooked al dente, again, contrasting the soft fish textures in the dish. Our wine pairing is a fine New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc by Paddy Borthwick, from a vineyard Enda and Maresa visited a few years ago whilst travelling. I begin to notice a theme emerging…

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

For our mains, we opt for the braised beef and battered cod. The beef, a local Donegal Ox Cheek falls apart amid the red wine jus and horseradish mash, after being slow cooked throughout the day. The battered cod is again, not just a battered fish – it’s a local Greencastle cod which has been battered in Inishowen’s ‘Foyle Gold’ craft beer and served with a fresh pea puree and caper mayonnaise.

of those real ‘mmm’ moments, with hot contrasting cold, providing a fantastic mouth feel. Writing about it now I want to drive up just to have more. My partner opted for the signature ‘Rusty Nail Eton Mess’; meringues served with summer berry compote, summer fruit ice cream and fresh cream. Tantalisingly light, creamy and fluffy, whilst also crunchy and acidic with a twist of sweetness – it was the perfect way to end the meal.

The mains blow us away. It’s refreshing to see a restaurant pub not only use local ingredients in their garden and their doorstep, but pair them together to construct a bespoke menu for the highest quality result. The use of local ingredients isn’t for show. The Rusty Nail continues to support the local community like it did all those years ago by engaging with local suppliers and championing local food talent.

Or, it should have been.

For dessert, I opt for the apple and rhubarb crumble, with the rhubarb picked from their garden. This is served with a homemade custard and vanilla ice cream. A classic dessert, the flavour of the local produce is quite something; the hot, cinnamon crumble is perfect against the cold custard and ice cream. This dessert provided one

Maybe it was the abundance of wine or the endless good food, but I opted for an Irish coffee as well. My enjoyment got the better of me and I led with my heart instead of my stomach. Whilst I definitely ate too much, I don’t regret it. Getting ready to leave we realised we had spent nearly four hours there that evening, chatting on after dinner and enjoying the craic. The atmosphere had definitely picked up, with one local now strumming along in the corner and laughter and camaraderie heard throughout the pub. All in all, this place is only 30 minutes away from Derry and well worth a visit. The food and drink was very reasonable costing less than 80 Euros. You wouldn’t expect a local pub to stock wine from a vineyard visited years ago, or perhaps even to heavily feature the owner’s own fruit and veg throughout the menu, but this one does. With enthusiastic staff and passionate, foody owners, no trip along with Wild Atlantic Way would be complete without visiting the Rusty Nail.

Y NAIL RUST THE CR OSSCONNELL THANK

CLONMANY CO DONEGAL 6 074 93 7611 CUSTOM UR YO R FO YOU

==========

==== ========7. 00

CROQUETTES DER SEAFOOD CHOW BRAISED BEEF D BATTERED CO ETON MESS CRUMBLE ITE WINE/TAP WH D WINE/TAP RE EE LIQUOR COFF

8.00 19.50 14.50 6.00 6.00 5.50 5.50 6.50 --------

€78.50 Total: ========== ==========

==

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MOTORING

Executive Motoring Motoring Correspondent, Darryl Campbell

NEWS John Mulholland Motors has won UK ŠKODA Retailer of the Year for Second Time

Volvo Launches New XC60

Revealed at this year’s Genva Motor Show, the new Volvo XC60 SUV is now available to order in Northern Ireland, with on-the-road prices starting at £37,205 for the D4 AWD Momentum version. Popular with business and company car drivers, the new model replaces the original nine-year-old XC60 which became the best-selling premium mid-sized SUV in Europe, with nearly a million units sold globally. In 2014 John Mulholland Motors proudly won the UK ŠKODA Retailer of the Year award and in doing so became the first ŠKODA Retailer outside mainland UK to scoop the top prize. Any thoughts of this achievement being a one-off were cast aside this week as the Randalstown based dealer landed the top honour once again. Speaking at the award ceremony in Budapest, John remarked “I’m absolutely delighted to have won the UK’s ŠKODA Retailer of the Year for the second time.” “We are the only ŠKODA Retailer to have ever brought the award to this side of the pond so to do it twice is an even bigger achievement. I cannot express how proud I am of our amazing staff, who were all part of this major achievement with their hard work and devotion to the job. All credit must go to our loyal customers who keep returning time and time again.” John credits the company’s success to its close knit family ties and dedication to the customer.

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SEAT confirms Pricing and Specifications for All New IBIZA The all-new Ibiza, now exclusively a five-door, is every inch a modern SEAT, designed and developed in Barcelona. Sporty, edgy lines combine with sculpted bodywork give the car a striking, eye-catching appeal. Hot new exterior colours and a class-leading eight-inch infotainment screen have been added too, to keep Ibiza firmly on-trend with current tastes. The car arrives at launch with a choice of four petrol engines, majoring on a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit. The new Ibiza range starts from £13,130 on the road. Orders can be placed now with the first cars in UK showrooms in July.

The XC60 has been Volvo’s best-selling model since 2009, establishing itself as a firm favourite among fleet ever since, with the R-Design trim level the most popular with businesses. The popularity of the XC60 R-Design confirms company car drivers’ fondness for sporty good looks to ensure maximum driveway appeal, combined with a dynamic sports chassis that helps make business miles more enjoyable.

MERCEDES-BENZ expands SLC Range with New Entry-Level SLC 180 The SLC 180 AMG Line has been added to the SLC range, with prices starting from £32,039 OTR. The SLC 180 features a turbo-charged 1.6-litre petrol engine producing 156 hp and 250 Nm. It can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 7.9 seconds and has a top speed of 140 mph.

The SLC Sport model line has also been discontinued to make the range even simpler, with AMG Line now the only option. The price of AMG Line trim has also been reduced by £500, making the SLC line-up even more attractive.


MOTORING

Range Rover Line up Extended by Velar Designed to fill the white space between Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport, the Velar offers levels of luxury, refinement and all-terrain capability never before seen in the mid-size SUV segment. This is a new type of Range Rover for a new type of customer. Jaguar Land Rover UK Managing Director, Jeremy Hicks said: “The new Range Rover Velar is a stunning addition to the Range Rover family, it enhances a model line-up that originally defined the luxury SUV segment and continues to do so. Velar brings increased choice to new and existing customers in a growing SUV market. It leads the way in terms of design, usable technology, new materials and of course Land Rover’s legendary go anywhere, do anything capability. The generous wheelbase contributes significantly to its elegance while helping to provide a spacious interior.

0.32 – this is the most aerodynamically-efficient Land Rover ever produced. Look inside Velar’s interior and you will see elegant simplicity, sophistication and refinement. An unwavering belief in reductionism has been fully employed, with switches being kept to an absolute minimum to help create a calm sanctuary. Design-enabling technology has been engaged fully to create the new Touch Pro Duo infotainment system which is the centrepiece of Velar’s interior. Touch Pro Duo features two 10-inch high-definition touchscreens integrated seamlessly behind secret-until-lit surfaces. These slim, intuitive displays work in harmony with the cabin architecture while adding an overall sense of modernity congruent with the vehicle’s exterior design. All of this is equalled by the Velar’s practicality: luggage

The Velar’s design is beautifully balanced, from its powerful proportions to its continuous waist line through to the taut tapered lines of the rear.

compartment volume is an impressive 632 litres-litres including a reduced-section spare wheel as standard in the UK. The light, stiff, aluminiumintensive body, together with double-wishbone front- and Integral Link rear suspension provides the perfect basis for agile handling, superior ride comfort and outstanding refinement. It also delivers exceptional levels of crash protection. Exceptional performance and efficiency come from the range of six petrol and diesel powertrains, all matched to smooth-shifting

ZF eight-speed automatic transmissions and all-wheel drive with Intelligent Driveline Dynamics. The Velar and Velar R-Dynamic core range comprises Standard, S, SE or HSE specifications. Customers can also specify Black and Luxury Exterior Packs for an even more distinguished appearance. Designed and engineered at Jaguar Land Rover’s development centres in the UK, Velar will be produced at the company’s Solihull production facility, UK. It goes on sale in mid-July in the UK priced from £44,830 (OTR) and Europe and in over 170 markets worldwide.

Advanced technology is pivotal to the contemporary design: the full-LED headlights are the most slender ever to appear on a production Land Rover vehicle. The flush deployable door handles emphasise Velar’s reductive, sculptured form, and contribute to the low drag coefficient from only

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VOLVO NORTHERN IRELAND & YOU:

PERFECT BUSINESS PARTNERS.

BUSINESS OFFERS Business Contract Hire

V40 T2 Momentum

NonMaintained cost (per month)

Maintained cost (per month)

Initial rental (+ VAT)

Month agreement

Annual mileage

BHP

BIK%

CO2

P11d

£179

£199

£1,074

36

10,000

122

24%

127g

£20,500.00

V40 D2 R Design

£199

£229

£1,374

36

10,000

120

20%

94g

£24,490.00

S60 D2 Business Edition

£229

£250

£1,374

36

10,000

120

22%

102g

£22,940.00

V60 D2 Business Edition

£229

£249

£1,374

36

10,000

120

22%

104g

£24.140.00

S90 D4 Momentum Geartronic

£319

£343

£1,914

36

10,000

190

25%

116g

£33,650.00

V90 D4 R-Design Geartronic

£359

£384

£2,154

36

10,000

190

25%

119g

£38,150.00

XC60 D4 SE Nav

£269

£292

£1,614

36

10,000

190

23%

117g

£32,880.00

XC60 D4 AWD R-Design Nav

£299

£325

£1,794

36

10,000

190

27%

137g

£37,955.00

XC90 D5 Powerpulse AWD R-Design Geartronic

£549

£585

£3,294

36

10,000

235

31%

149g

£51,600.00

Stanley Motor Works (SMW) Belfast Greers of Antrim & Coleraine

Volvo Business Centre

028 9068 6000 www.volvocarsbelfast.co.uk

028 9446 0066 www.volvocarsantrim.co.uk

Fuel consumption and CO2 figures for the Volvo Range in mpg (I/100 km): Urban 68.9 (4.1) – 19.1 (14.8), Extra Urban 85.6 (3.3) – 37.7 (7.5), Combined 155.2 (1.8) – 27.7 (10.2). CO2 emissions 237 – 48g/km. MPG figures are obtained from laboratory testing intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not reflect real driving results. *Important Information. Business users only. Offers available on Business Contract Hire agreement 6+35.

Subject to status. Costs exclusive of VAT unless indicated otherwise. Further charges may be made subject to the condition or mileage of the vehicle. 10,000 miles per annum. Metallic Paint inclusive. Subject to availability at participating dealers for vehicles registered 01/04/17 to 30/06/17. Not available with other promotions. Excess mileage charges may apply. Provided by Lex Autolease Ltd trading as Volvo Car Leasing, SK3 0RB.


MOTORING

better the Diesel You Know Last year, a record 1.3 million new diesel cars were registered in the UK, up 0.6% on the previous year – a trend that’s continuing in 2017. In March, more businesses and consumers chose a new diesel car than in any other month in history. It’s clear that consumers love diesels despite the bad press.

Between 2008 and 2015, Volkswagen rigged diesel cars so they could pass stringent environmental tests whilst emitting dangerous levels of pollution.

Volkswagen, however, has seemingly got away lightly from this, with sales largely unaffected, but should consumers be punished for Volkswagen’s misconduct?

however, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) estimates diesel cars emit 20 per cent less CO2 per kilometre than their petrol counterparts.

With that said, the SMMT has published some interesting facts about diesel fuel to help further understanding about these concerns:

• Diesel is critical to reducing CO2 emissions, which in turn is tackling climate change as diesel cars emit, on average, 20% lower CO2 than petrol equivalents. Since 2002, diesel cars have saved 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 from going into the atmosphere. • Almost one in every two new cars registered in the UK is a diesel, with buyers valuing their high performance and low fuel consumption. On average, diesels use 20% less fuel than like for like petrol models. • Advanced diesel technology has virtually eliminated emissions of particulate matter, with 99% of these soot particulates captured by special filters fitted to all new diesel cars since 2011. Around half of diesels on the road now boast a DPF. • The latest Euro 6 vehicles are the cleanest in history. As well as special filters, they also feature clever technology that converts most of the NOx from the engine into harmless nitrogen and water before it reaches the exhaust. • Diesel cars are not the main source of urban NOx. In London, gas heating of homes and offices is the biggest contributor, responsible for 16%. While road transport as a whole is responsible for around half of London’s NOx, diesel cars produce just 11%.

In 2017, drivers in 35 towns and cities across England could soon be hit with a new £20 a day ‘toxins tax’ in addition to driving restrictions in city centres, according to reports. In addition, British Prime Minister Theresa May has asked officials to develop plans for a scrappage scheme for diesel cars as part of proposals to improve air quality.

So, if you’ve just bought a diesel car or are planning to buy one – just ask your dealer any questions you may have, and consider looking at alternatives if you were thinking of buying a Volkswagen.

Studies have since shown that particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel vehicles are detrimental to health,

Look at the tax brackets, check its proposed emissions and compare it with petrol alternatives – not hybrids, unless you’re the evil one!

Diesels are not the enemy, they’re just misunderstood. The seemingly ‘efficient’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ hybrid takes a far heavier toll on the environment than its counterparts and petrol is largely inefficient and tax-unfriendly. So what do you do? I’d stick with the efficient diesel for now, as the technology is only getting better.

77


THE FINAL WORD

Brian John Spencer writes… A view of Lough Foyle and Magilligan Point in Co. L’Derry from Cruck Glass Mountain in Co. Donegal.

Last autumn I was in New York drawing in the pubs and public parks of Manhattan and Brooklyn. While politically divided, New Yorkers were all united in their love for Ireland. I was blown away by the number who’d been on our island and the places they’d been.   Interaction with foreigners always reminds us that we really are the teacher’s pet of the world. As Louis MacNeice wrote in ‘Autumn Journal’, we are “members of a world that never was, baptised with fairy water.”   It got me thinking, not just about the untapped potential of this island, but about how little of this island us Irish have seen, even how ignorant we can be about places outside our own.   

78

This required a correction on my part and so I embarked on an adventure, spending one day and one night in each county, starting March 16 and ending on April 17 of this year.   The first third of my Irish Iliad was spent in my home province, underscoring how little I know of Ulster never mind Ireland. Apart from the €3 pint in Ballyjamesduff in Cavan, the highlight of my time in Ulster was being in the counties of Derry, Donegal and the west of Tyrone. The standout of these was the Maiden City and the surrounding area.    I stayed with Jim Roddy during my 24 hours in Derry on March 18, he is a well known peace-builder and is the city centre manager. I arrived early in the morning, and from

Derry’s Walls I painted a landscape of the black canons looking at the Bogside, a stark picture of past and present. That afternoon Jim took me and his family to see his beloved Derry City play Drogheda in their temporary home Maginn Park in Buncrana, afterwards to the Drift Inn to watch Ireland beat England in the rugby over a few pints. Later at the Roddy house we had supper and some more drinks. The next morning Jim gave a tour of the town, covering a lot of ground, from the Bogside to the old naval barracks and out to the ancient stone ringfort Grianan of Aileach in Donegal.   For a South Belfast lad, the 24 hours was remarkable. 

The ever-presence of the border was something I had simply failed to appreciate. The ease and naturalness and necessity for crossing the almost imperceptible border was startling. In Belfast or east Antrim, you could see why people aren’t worried about border checks or a hard border, not so if you’ve been in Derry or the surrounding north-west.   This newfound understanding and worry was furthered during my time in Carrigart in Donegal and Strabane in Tyrone where I met with local SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan.    Back in Belfast, as an Irish artist and writer, I continue to be nourished and inspired by my time in America. As a Belfast artist and writer I’m worried by the apathy and disinterest of my fellow Belfasters for the tumult that is underway in the north west.    As America taught me, we need to be less ignorant about places outside our own. 


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