24 March 2021 Thought Leadership
The Dublin Belfast Economic Corridor will create a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Rather than an experiment, it is the natural progression along a physical geographical corridor of exceptional beauty as well as entrepreneurialism. It was great to see it get launched today.
Today was the public articulation that if we are to succeed in the global economy, we, as an island, must build on our strengths, north-south and east-west.
The corridor connecting Ireland’s capital city Dublin, to Northern Ireland’s capital city Belfast, is world-renowned for many strengths, including science, technology and innovation. It is time to nurture its true potential and power up economic growth to guarantee our place in a world which is evolving at pace and won’t wait for the laggards.
This corridor is a national natural asset which can be supercharged to compete on a world stage and fire up our economy for the benefit of everyone.
There is an opportunity to build on the core strengths which already exist within this corridor: a population of over two million, young and diverse, with 34% holding third level qualifications, and of course existing strengths in the high growth sectors including advanced manufacturing, life-sciences, agri-food, professional services, fintech and tourism.
The launch marks the beginning of the hard work which will be required to ensure the ambition can be realised, including partnership and collaboration, across eight local councils working with government and the private and third sectors to invest and plan adequately for the future.
As well as DCU and Ulster University who were tasked with the research behind the DBEC, all our universities will be needed to get on board to drive and share the research and innovation which will power the engine of tomorrow’s growth sectors.
Robin Walker’s reminder that we can replicate the success of the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford model is a poignant prompt of the role which our universities will need to play in bookending the opportunity, one which will also require proper and considered investment in infrastructure to oxygenate the ambition.
The right infrastructure investment will be needed to play its part in delivering on the ambition - new designs for towns and cities and how we live and work as well as transport and housing. We have a real and tangible opportunity to connect our cities by faster and more frequent transport - rail in particular - and it was encouraging to hear Leo Varadkar talk about a (hopefully less than) one hour journey between the two capitals, connecting key towns and cities along the way.
Today is an exciting day and hopefully it is only the start of an ambitious project to supercharge the natural asset that is the Dublin Belfast Economic Corridor. Strong leadership is being demonstrated by the eight councils which have taken this initiative forward and committed to delivering it in the coming months and years ahead.
And of course, there are those who have been lighting the fire of this ambition for many years including the visionary, the late Sir George Quigley and more recently David Gavaghan.
Lanyon Group is delighted to play its part in supporting this ambition which will unlock opportunities for generations to come and keep us connected globally.
Katie Doran, Partner, Lanyon Group