Finance Minister Conor Murphy visited a number of businesses in the Fermanagh area this week to see first-hand how they have benefitted from the financial support offered by the Department during Covid-19.
Minister Murphy started his day of engagements at Elite Electronic Systems Ltd where he toured the premises and met with staff. The company is one of many businesses in the area to benefit from more than £62 million of support through various grant schemes and the rates holiday.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “It was great to get the opportunity to meet with Managing Director Jonathan Balfour and some of his team to get a sense of the fantastic work they are doing there and how the financial assistance from the Department has helped the company over the past 18 months.
“It’s such an impressive set up and reassuring to see how this local business is in a position to look towards a bright future on a global scale thanks in part to the financial support we have given them.”
Minister Murphy then attended a roundtable discussion with local business owners to discuss a number of issues including business support, rates and the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on town centres.
He explained: “Meeting with local business owners is a great way for me to get sense of what is happening on the ground. We had a really constructive conversation about the issues they are facing and the steps that could be taken to address them.
“It is very clear to me the issue of rates is of the utmost importance to business owners both here and elsewhere and I agree we need to ensure there is a fair redistribution of rates which is why Reval 2023 is so important. We have to look at all the interventions to regenerate town centres and rates is a component part of that.”
Minister Murphy also took a walk through the town centre and met with some local business owners before meeting with council representatives, including the Mayor and Chief Executive, to update them on plans for a Civil Service hub in the area.
He added: “There was such a buzz about the town which was great to see. I was delighted to hear from the local businesses that the financial support we provided during the pandemic has helped protect their businesses and give them a fighting chance as we look towards the path to recovery.
“The issue of regeneration and boosting local town centres came up during many of my conversations so it was great to then get the chance to speak to local council representatives about plans for a Civil Service regional hub in the area and the opportunities it will bring for the local community here, both in terms of careers in the Civil Service and the boost for the local economy.”
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