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Fired up by an ex-Dragon

Rte has recruited Harmonia Publishing managing director Norah Casey as its latest fire-breathing female for its take on the popular business show Dragons' Den.

Last week her predecessor, Essex-born Sarah Newman, visited Northern Ireland for a female business networking event. Ms Newman sold her business, needahotel.com, for a reported €60m in 2006.

The ex-dragon explained her motivation for sharing her story.

"I speak at these events to give an idea of how my business started in a one-bedroomed apartment and show the human side of how you can grow a business if you so choose."

She did not want to comment on the crisis in the Republic but said everyone had revelled in the boom and would have to endure the bust. "Rather than criticise, we have to accept we spent money frivolously and now we all have to bite the bullet."

Small to medium sized businesses, she said, are the biggest employers in Ireland. "If every firm was able to take on two new people, nobody would be unemployed." But she thinks an Irish work ethic will help lift the economy. "It's our human nature to get up and work," the entrepreneur said.