Thursday 7th November 2019

Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle Co. Down

Time left to conference

Northern Ireland’s economic summit

The Northern Ireland Economic Conference, now in its 24th year, is Northern Ireland’s premier economic analysis event and is unique in being the only forum that takes a high level look at the performance of, and prospects for the local economy. It is firmly established as the annual autumn ‘summit’ for Northern Ireland’s economic community, including policy makers and business leaders. Taking place at a time of unprecedented political chaos, this is a not to be missed event for all the latest information on the local economy as well as an excellent opportunity for networking and discussion with key players in the economy, across all sectors.

Northern Ireland: Post Brexit

The 2019 conference comes at a pivotal time for Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union on 31st October. At the time of writing there is still no certainty as to what Brexit will look like, with a no-deal remaining a real possibility now that Boris Johnson has been installed as Prime Minister. What are the consequences of leaving without an agreement? A hard Brexit would prove devastating for Northern Ireland’s economy with reports that 40,000 jobs could be lost. Even a so-called soft Brexit will have significant negative economic consequences.


This is the 24th year of the conference and during that time there has never been such a momentous and possibly catastrophic challenge to the economy looming. Added to this mix is the absence of a local Executive and continued uncertainty in Northern Ireland. This year’s conference will bring together a platform of expert speakers who will try to make sense as to what the future will hold.

Why should I attend?
  • ✔ Expert local and visiting speakers
  • ✔ Major economic summit
  • ✔ Economic outlook and forecast
  • ✔ Unique information presented
  • ✔ Not to be missed annual conference
  • ✔ Unrivalled networking opportunity
  • ✔ All sectors represented – government, business, third sector
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Key issues to be addressed at the conference will include:
  • Economic impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland
  • Economic priorities for Northern Ireland
  • Regional economic development – role of city regions
  • Developing vital infrastructure for economic growth
  • Strengthening connectivity between Belfast and Dublin
  • Post Brexit: What’s next?
  • Employment: The quality conundrum
  • Looking at the all-island economy
  • Promoting innovation
  • Boosting productivity
  • The role of education and skills as an economic driver

Keynote speaker

David G. Blanchflower is the Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College, Professor of Economics at the University of Stirling and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was previously an external member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. He is the co-author of The Wage Curve. His most recent publication is Not Working: Where Have All The Good Jobs Gone?

“This is economics as it should be: crystal clear, persuasively argued, and enlightening on the big question of our age, namely why so many people feel the economy does not work for them even though employment is so low. If you care about how to fix the mess in the rich West, Blanchflower’s Not Working is for you.”
Robert Peston, Political Editor, ITV News

Hear speakers from:

Conference Programme

0830 Registration and morning coffee
0900 Chairman’s welcome and introduction
John Campbell, Economics & Business Editor, BBC Northern Ireland
WELCOME Councillor Charlie Casey, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
ECONOMIC FORECAST The Northern Ireland medium term economic outlook
Dr Esmond Birnie, Senior Economist, Ulster University
ECONOMIC POLICY Economic policy in uncertain times
David Sterling, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service
LOCAL ECONOMY Newry, Mourne and Down: A strategy for growth and investment
Marie Ward, Chief Executive, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
KEYNOTE ADDRESS Not Working: Where Have All The Good Jobs Gone?
David G. Blanchflower, Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College
Questions & answers / Panel discussion
1045 Morning coffee / networking break
OUTLOOK What's next for the UK economy?
Chris Giles, Economics Editor, FT
ALL-ISLAND ECONOMY The all-Island economy post-Brexit
Professor John FitzGerald, Research Affiliate, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI)
FREE MOVEMENT The economic and social impact of free movement of workers across the EU
Professor Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Kings College London and Senior Fellow of the Economic and Social Research Council’s UK in a Changing Europe initiative (invited)
Questions & answers / Panel discussion
Declan Billington, CEO, John Thompson & Sons Ltd (invited)
Professor Deirdre Heenan, Professor of Social Policy, Ulster University
Seamus Keating, Executive Chairman, First Derivatives
Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive, Manufacturing NI
Paul MacFlynn, Senior Economist, Nevin Economic Research Institute
Aidan Gough, Chief Executive, InterTradeIreland (invited)
1300 Networking lunch
INNOVATION Universities as hubs of innovation and drivers of the economy
Professor Nola Hewitt-Dundas, Professor of Innovation Management and Policy, Queen’s University Belfast
CONNECTIVITY Strengthening connectivity between Belfast and Dublin
David Gavaghan, Chief Executive, Aurora Prime Real Estate
INFRASTRUCTURE Developing high quality infrastructure for a growing economy
Speaker TBC
TALENT Creating a highly skilled workforce
Naoimh McAteer, Director, MJM Marine (invited)
FURTHER EDUCATION Further Education as a driver of the economy
Brian Doran, Chief Executive, Southern Regional College
Questions & answers / Panel discussion
1600 Conference close

Conference registration

Conference delegate rate


Fee includes documentation, lunch and other refreshments served during the conference and is payable in advance.

£255 + VAT @ 20% = £306

Register Now
Discounted rate
for voluntary / community sectors


Fee includes documentation, lunch and other refreshments served during the conference and is payable in advance.

£165 + VAT @ 20% = £198

Register Now
Discounted rate
for local government (Councils only)


Fee includes documentation, lunch and other refreshments served during the conference and is payable in advance.

£165 + VAT @ 20% = £198

Register Now

NI Economic Conference

Northern Ireland's only economic summit

Conference venue and information


+44 (0)28 9261 9933


Slieve Donard Hotel
Newcastle Co.Down

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