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Tech director elected new President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

Aidan O’Kane has been appointed the 79th President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.

Aidan, a Director at Northern Ireland’s largest IT company, Allstate NI, was appointed at the AGM on Thursday 9 September, taking over the reins from outgoing President, Dawn McLaughlin. Aidan has also been one of the Co-Chairs of the Cross Border Workers Coalition since summer 2020.

In his address to members, Aidan spoke of the economic recovery, rebuild and revitalisation required over the next 12 months, and the need for elected representatives to prioritise the North West ahead of May’s Assembly Election.

Aidan will be supported in his role by Selina Horshi, Managing Director at the White Horse Hotel, who will be the Chamber’s Vice-President for 2022.

Speaking to members at the AGM in the Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Aidan O’Kane said:

“I am very proud to have been elected President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and I would like to thank the membership for trusting me with this position. In the coming 12 months, I promise to work unwaveringly for our members and for businesses here in the North West.

“Dawn has worked exceptionally hard for Chamber members this year, representing our interests with distinction, and I would like to thank her on behalf of all our members for her dedication in 2021.

“Looking ahead to 2022, recovery, rebuild and revitalisation are the watchwords for the next 12 months. It goes without saying that the pandemic has had a significant and severe impact on businesses and the economy. While 2020 appeared bleak and unclear, the emergence and roll-out of the vaccines in 2021 has given us the opportunity to fully bounce back in 2022.

“Our region is on the cusp of something special. There’s an energy and optimism among colleagues, among key stakeholders, and among businesses to lift up the North West. We are fast approaching the next Assembly election, and it’s crucial that our local elected representatives, new ministers, and the incoming NI Executive recognise this and commit to doing all they can to positively develop our region during the next mandate.

“I am excited to get to grips with my new role and I will be working extremely hard over the next year to help make sure that local businesses succeed in a successful North West.”

Outgoing President Dawn McLaughlin also said:

“It has been an honour and a professional and personal privilege to have served as President of the Chamber. Leading Chamber, I have worked diligently to have the voice of North West business heard at all levels of government, North, South, and beyond our island, working constructively to find solutions and secure support for our members.

“Despite the challenges of both Brexit and Covid-19, this year has seen great successes, with high points being the sign-off of the City Deal, the long-awaited opening of the Graduate Entry Medical School at Magee and the announcement of the £70m Health Hub at Fort George. We have welcomed new companies to the North West and FDI is strengthening in our region.

“When things have been at their toughest, we have often been at our best, and the sense of community, camaraderie, and support among members has been genuinely inspiring to see. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our members recognising the lengths they have gone to in protecting their people and their businesses, and I commend them for all they have done for our community during the pandemic.

“I would like to thank the Chamber team and directors for their support and wish Aidan and Selina the best of luck for 2022. I am certain that they will represent our region with strong, committed, and dynamic leadership.”