Belfast Telegraph

Business View: Working together for brighter future

By Margaret Canning

The 50th anniversary CBI gala dinner celebration in Belfast contained some moments of nostalgia. UK boss John Cridland and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were the special guests at the dinner.

The former reflected that, just as 1965 had marked the birth of the CBI, it was also an important date in north-south relations.

He reflected that on January 4, 1965, a Taoiseach of the Republic met a Prime Minister of Northern Ireland for the first time in 40 years. The visit ushered in a new era of north-south co-operation in areas such as electricity, tourism and transport.

In an era of wider co-operation, Mr Cridland reflected that both sides of the border had to make the most of their position in Europe.

The CBI's well-documented position is that it wants to stay in the EU, but that it must be reformed. As Mr Cridland reminded his audience last night: "Global companies are choosing to invest in Ireland and the UK precisely because we are gateways to Europe. And we want the EU to think more in this global context."

Businesses should also stand up and be counted, he said. He and his CBI colleague Colin Walsh both called on politicians to get together and resolve their differences over welfare reform to hasten the devolution of corporation tax. The business world has transformed since 1965 - and let's hope it keeps evolving for the better.

Belfast Telegraph