In a speech to the Ulster Bank ‘Surviving the High Street’ seminar in Enniskillen this morning, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts made a plea for our rural towns and villages not be left behind while the City Deals progress.

Mr Roberts also warned that rural communities face the loss of access to cash unless the criminal gangs behind the ATM robberies are stopped.

Glyn Roberts said:

Tracy Hamilton, Brand Director, Mash Direct, Winston Maguire, Owner of Nisa Killyleagh, Adinah Maguire, Errol Maguire and Glyn Roberts, Retail NI.

It’s a special year for the team at Mash Direct as they celebrated 15 years of business on Friday. From the initial dream of making traditional ‘Ulster’ Champ for convenience in 2004, the Hamilton family have grown Mash Direct into a national household brand producing over 50 vegetable and potato side dishes.

Mash Direct started selling their products in St. George’s market in 2004 but as popularity for their range increased, they gained interest from a few local supermarket stores and started selling from their vans across Northern Ireland.

Retail NI has welcomed today’s signing of the Heads of Terms by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, NICS and the Belfast City Regional Deal partners.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is welcome progress towards what we hope will be a game changer for our local economy and for vital regeneration projects in the Belfast Region area”

“Retail NI was the first business group to call for a City Deal and we are keen to work in partnership with Belfast Regional Deal partners to achieve its aims”


Commenting on the further opening of the Primark cordon connecting Donegall Place to Fountain Street, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:  

“This is welcome progress which will enable the last few traders in the area to reopen their businesses and reconnect Castle Street traders with Donegall Place”

“While this is a step forward, a huge amount of work is still needed to fully rejuvenate that part of the city centre impacted by the Primark fire”

“This whole crisis has shown just how resilient city centre traders really are”

Retail NI has urged all businesses that have an external ATM to be vigilant after last night’s robbery of a machine at the Danske Bank branch in Mallusk early this morning.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:  

“Yet again we awaken to the news of another disgraceful ATM robbery”

“We would urge all businesses who have external ATMs to be vigilant, particularly if they are near building sites with diggers”

“Retail NI would also urge building contractors to review the security of their sites”

Retail NI has welcomed today’s Department for Infrastructure planning permission for the Belfast Transport Hub

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is a genuine good news story for our economy”

“Retail NI has long supported this vital project as both an investment in the infrastructure of Belfast City Centre and our transport network”

“From a retail perspective it is extremely positive as it will improve the City Centre’s connectivity for shoppers and tourists and reduce congestion”

Mash Direct Eliminates Black Plastic for St. Patrick’s Day

We set ourselves a New Year’s Resolution to go green by St. Patrick’s Day and we have achieved our goal. Mash Direct are now selling our award winning vegetable and potato side dishes in 100% recyclable trays following a complete overhaul of our packaging.

Two of the biggest retail representative bodies on the island of Ireland this evening welcomed the vote in the House of Commons against leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.  Retail NI, Northern Ireland’s largest retail trade association joined Retail Excellence, Ireland’s largest retail representative body in welcoming the vote to take ‘no deal’ off the table as “an important step forward in avoiding a potential economic disaster on both sides of the border for retailers.”

Retail NI has described the NI Budget published by the Secretary of State today as ‘extremely disappointing’ and 'a missed opportunity’

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:  

“Retail NI is disappointed that the Secretary of State has not listened to our concerns over business rates. Why is that independent retailers in England get a third off their rate bills and their Northern Ireland counterparts get an increase?

FORMER investment banker turner job-creator Darragh McCarthy says there is a "hugely competitive war for new talent" - and that attracting, retaining and developing the best people is imperative for the success and growth of any business.

The chief executive and founder of financial services group FinTrU - which will soon grow its payroll in Belfast and Derry to 800 people - was speaking at the formal launch the 13th running of the Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards, which take place in Titanic Belfast on Thursday June 13.