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Visit to Dublin by Manchester's and Liverpool's mayors shows benefits of our links with North West England

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One of the most famous addresses in North West England

One of the most famous addresses in North West England

One of the most famous addresses in North West England

Ireland and Britain share an important trading relationship, and it is a significant market for so many of our exporters.

This week marks a significant milestone in this relationship, as the mayors of Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region, Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, are visiting Dublin tomorrow and on Tuesday. This first-of-its-kind visit is designed to strengthen trade, tourism, and community links between these regions in the UK and Ireland.

“Andy and I want to forge deeper connections with Ireland,” Steve Rotheram, the mayor of Liverpool City Region, says. “Those conversations will be based around how we can work together to shape our post-pandemic recovery, reap the benefits of mutual economic and cultural opportunities, and identify shared priority areas such as climate action, sport, culture and innovation.”

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, adds: “Collaboration and cooperation are vital as we enter a new phase of UK-Ireland relations in the wake of Brexit. We want the North West to be right at the forefront. Ireland is one of Greater Manchester’s most important markets, with year-on-year growth. A whole host of Irish companies have invested in our city-region, and tourism between Ireland and the North West is thriving.”

North West England is an important region. Irish officials have visited several places in recent years, including a trade mission to Liverpool in December led by Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy.

In addition, both mayors took part in Enterprise Ireland’s post-Brexit Evolve UK event in February 2021, where they spoke to an audience of Irish CEOs. But this is the first reciprocal visit, and it gives Irish companies and entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to engage with these two leaders.

Adding to the significance of this visit is the importance of devolution in the UK and the decision-making powers and funding responsibilities of the two elected mayors in their regions. “As the directly elected mayor of the Liverpool City Region, I lead the Combined Authority and exercise the powers and functions devolved from government, set out in our devolution deal,” Mr Rotheram explains. “These include a £30m-a-year strategic investment fund, powers over public transport, skills, adult education, energy, culture and more.

“My priority is to make investments in areas that have a real impact on our communities, from transport to employment, to culture, and housing. Since I was elected, we’ve helped create more than 10,000 jobs and 7,000 apprenticeships for local people.”

During their visit to Dublin over the coming days, both mayors will be meeting Enterprise Ireland’s CEO Leo Clancy, and Irish companies are invited to join two business sessions hosted by the mayors and the UK’s Department for International Trade: Net Zero and Sustainability, and The Digital Landscape.

These sessions will allow Irish companies to engage with the Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region teams and learn more about the existing and emerging opportunities available in these areas and the support for companies wanting to establish a presence there. Enterprise Ireland’s Manchester team will also attend and chair panel discussions on why companies are launching a UK footprint in the North West region.

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The UK remains our biggest export market, representing 29pc of global exports of Enterprise Ireland client companies.

“Hundreds of Irish companies create thousands of good quality jobs here because Greater Manchester provides the right environment for Irish business to thrive,” Mayor Andy Burnham says.

“We are the largest economy by GDP outside of London. We have a world-class culture to attract and retain talent, world-class institutions to develop the right skills, and world-class connectivity to aid productivity and drive innovation. Irish companies tell us that the strength of our key sectors, like digital and tech, is what draws them here.”

There are a variety of sectors in the regions, offering plenty of opportunity for ambitious Irish companies, including manufacturing, construction, local authorities, aerospace and aviation, port infrastructure, and offshore wind and renewables. Healthcare and life sciences are also vital, and Greater Manchester has been named the UK’s leading tech city outside of London.

Many Irish companies have enjoyed considerable success in the regions, including ESB and John Sisk & Son, who recently worked on one of the most significant projects, Circle Square in Manchester. Other notable companies include ESS Modular, Future Ticketing and Flextime Ltd.

This visit to Dublin and the events over the coming days will hopefully encourage even more Irish companies to consider the significant opportunities in the North West of England to grow further and scale their business. 

Laura Brocklebank is senior market advisor at Enterprise Ireland

For more information on the Business Session Events during the joint mayors’ visit to Ireland, follow Enterprise Ireland UK on LinkedIn or contact laura.brocklebank@enterprise-ireland.com


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