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Chamber of Commerce chief tells parties 'failure isn't an option'

By Margaret Canning

Published 20/11/2015

Failure is not an option for the economy of Northern Ireland, the head of the Chamber of Commerce here has said.

President Stephen McCully was speaking at the chamber's annual banquet, where he welcomed this week's A Fresh Start - the Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan.

Mr McCully, managing director of Power NI, also called on politicians to make "timely and confident decisions" for the economy.

"Failure this time is not an option - we are already lagging significantly behind our neighbouring economies," he said.

"But we have so much within our grasp - investors ready to make a commitment to the province, a business community primed for opportunities to grow and export, and the opportunity to unleash the pent-up potential of our local talent."

Last night's glittering event was held at Titanic Belfast, and featured a speech by acclaimed local actor James Nesbitt.

Mr McCully said there was a desire to see "better political processes" with politicians making "timely and confident decisions" to benefit the economy and society.

And he said the business community recognised the challenges that faced the Executive. "It also recognises that there are hard political choices that need to be made to allow such priorities to be properly resourced," he added.

The energy boss praised the efforts of innovative Northern Ireland companies such as Glen Dimplex, which is based in Newry and is the world's biggest maker of domestic heating appliances.

He also name-checked Ulster Carpets, as "world leaders" in Axminster carpets.

James Nesbitt and fans pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
James Nesbitt and fans pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Rachel Edgar and Jordan Young at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Eva Grosman, Conor Houston and Deirdre Heenan at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Tracy Haghan and William McCausland at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Judith Cochrane and Rachael Blackburn at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Deirdre Heenan, Eamon Mullan, Suzanne Wylie and James Nesbitt pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
James Nesbitt pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual PresidentÕs Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Catherine McKeown and Amy Bennington pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Allan Ewart, James Nesbitt and Mervyn Storey pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Ann McGregor and James Nesbitt pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
James Nesbitt and Minister Jonathan Bell pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual Presidents Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Richard Willis and Maureen Fox at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Francis Martin, Maria McAllister and Fred Smyth pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Liza Hammond and Mukesh Sharma pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Bill McGinnis, Ann McGregor and Alastair Hamilton pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
James Nesbitt, Mark Thompson and Bill Maginnis pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Mandy McCrory, Tracey Morrow, Mark McCrory and Laura Horner pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Cathal McGarry, Dermot Coffey and Christopher Mills pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Jonathan Macon, Kimberley Macon and Michael Henry pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual PresidentÕs Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Terry Brannigan, Alison Murray and Paul Kirkpatrick at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Jenny and Patrick Hurst pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Gillian McAuley, Stephen McCully and Kerstie Forsythe pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Eleven Graham and James Nesbitt pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Ann McGregor and Paul Sistern at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
James Nesbitt, Mervyn Storey and Terence Brannigan pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Alec Crossan, Alastair Hamilton and Colm O'Neill at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Greg Clarke, Stephen McCully and Nick Coburn pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Denise and Allan Ewart pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Errol Close, Paul Sistern and Marian Troy pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Brenda Morgan, Mukesh Sharma and Liza Hammond at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Mark Sterling and Alyson English at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Patrick and Jenny Hurst at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Sandra Scannell and Terence Brannigan pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Paul Black, Peter Russell, Grainne Brown and Ian Shepherd pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Gareth Wilson, Daniel Welling and Ken Roulston at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Mike Willis and Richard Willis at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Aisling Press, Robert Mulhall, Des Moore, Edel McCoo and Sandra Scannell pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Gillian Anderson, Daniel Lawton and Paula Hawkins pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Claire O'Neill, Ciara Burke, Kevin Woolfosn, Julie Black and Hollie Cullen at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Jayne Whyte and Barry McNulty at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President's Banquet at Titanic Belfast. (© Matt Mackey - Presseye.com)
Ann McGregor, James Nesbitt, Stephen McCully and Minister Jonathan Bell pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
Nick Coburn, Stephen McCully and Janet McCollum pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
James Nesbitt pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)
James Nesbitt with Jim and Samina Dornan pictured at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) annual President's Banquet. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye)

And he praised the new breed of entrepreneurs, such as Gareth Morrison of security software firm the Lava Group, and David and Fiona Boyd-Armstrong of Shortcross Gin.

Mr McCully was addressing around 550 figures from the business community at the Northern Ireland chamber's President's Banquet event.

Other guests on the night included the Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell, Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey and Health Minister Simon Hamilton.

Belfast Telegraph

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