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Northern Ireland facing 'challenge of a generation' as it confronts Brexit and Covid-19, says accountants society's new boss

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New chair Maeve Hunt with her father Seamus, who held the role in 1990

New chair Maeve Hunt with her father Seamus, who held the role in 1990

New chair Maeve Hunt with her father Seamus, who held the role in 1990

Northern Ireland faces the "challenge of a generation" as it confronts the economic difficulties of Brexit and Covid-19, a business boss has said.

Maeve Hunt, new chairperson of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society, was speaking at its annual general meeting, which was held online.

Ms Hunt is following in the footsteps of her father, Seamus, who chaired the society in 1990. She is the fourth woman to lead the organisation.

Ms Hunt, who is employed as an associate director for audit and assurance at business advisory firm, Grant Thornton, said: "Around the world, people are still coming to terms with the impact and effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Our key aim will be to support our members and their pivotal role in business and the public sector during these unprecedented times.

"Bouncing back from this health crisis while dealing with the realities of Brexit will be the challenge of a generation.

"The skills and leadership of our profession are needed now more than ever. We will be there to give our support."

It comes as the economy marked another step towards reopening as small retailers were told by the Executive that they could reopen on Friday.

Roger Pollen, head of external affairs at the FSB in Northern Ireland, said the announcement was welcome news.

"Small businesses have been frustrated during lockdown to see larger businesses being able to continue to trade in products which they sell, while they were forbidden from opening. The Economy Minister's announcement will be music to the ears of many business owners, who are eager to open the shutters."

He added: "At FSB, we have made the case throughout the coronavirus crisis that the criteria which determine whether a business can open should be focused on safety, rather than what you sell, or the size of your business.

"We are grateful that the Executive has recognised this principle and small retailers will be relieved that they will soon be permitted to re-open their business, and play their part in re-starting the economy. We would also urge the public now to get behind our smaller businesses."

Belfast Telegraph