The voice of Northern Ireland’s business community has never been stronger and more important as industry attempts to avoid a hard Brexit, a gathering of top business leaders has heard.
The Top 100 Northern Ireland Companies 2019 dinner, with A&L Goodbody, brought together some of top business chiefs making the list, to the grand backdrop of Queen’s University’s Great Hall.
The event heard renewed calls for securing a deal on Brexit, and the restoration of Stormont, as we approach 1,000 days without a devolved government here.
John Mulgrew, editor of Ulster Business, told those gathered: “On the precipice of Brexit, the voice of business has never been stronger or more important – further enforcing the need for a deal. Avoiding a hard exit. And retaining a strong trading relationship across the island.
“But we should also take this opportunity to clearly note, that we are approaching 1,000 days since having a devolved government – up and running.
“It affects you and your businesses, and it’s cited as the key reason putting off investment from overseas, and our own local companies, from making key investment decisions.”
The Top 100 edition is an annual showcase of the leading and largest companies, located right across Northern Ireland. This year sales rose by almost 10%, approaching a combined figure of £25bn.
And for the eighth year in a row, poultry processing giant Moy Park has come in at the number one spot, with turnover of £1.5bn.
Michael Neill, head of Belfast office at A&L Goodbody, said: “What the Top 100 companies have achieved in the past 12 months in what can only be described as capricious circumstances is truly remarkable – but imagine what could have been achieved had we some semblance of ‘normality’.
“My hope is that we find ourselves doing so in a Northern Ireland that is embarking on a new and positive era of opportunity, rather than picking up the shattered pieces of a ‘no deal’ Brexit for many years to come.”