LEADING business people from Ireland and the North East attended an event to officially launch the region’s first network aiming to create jobs here and in Eire.
Le Chéile – The North East of England Irish Network (le cheile means together) – aims to harness the power of the 250,000-plus people of Irish descent living in the region.
The network was the idea of ex-pat Galway news broadcast journalist John Coyne, from Jarrow, South Tyneside, better known in Irish media circles as Séan Ó Cadhain from his work with RTÉ.
Speakers at the launch included Dermot Keehan, economic and commercial attaché from the Irish Embassy, Alan Gallagher, vice president for International Development of Connect Ireland, which was set up to seek out inward investment into Ireland from the Irish Diaspora and others, Ted Salmon, regional chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, and Matthew Ord of the International Trade Section of the North East Chamber of Commerce.
The Network is particularly keen to strengthen ties in the commercial, science and technology, manufacturing and processing sectors.
Mr Coyne said: “One of our main aims is to encourage the natural flow of commerce in an east-west and west-east direction.
“We also aim to provide the forum for businesses in the North East of England and in Ireland to collaborate and to do business to the advantage of both.”
Alan Gallagher, of Connect Ireland, said: “The synergy between the two regions has tremendous potential, especially in the petrochemical and sub-sea industries, as well as the expanding new technology and renewable energy sectors.
“The exchange of ideas and experience can only benefit the future development of both communities.”