New Chamber President Looks Ahead

Congratulations ABAC Chartered Accountants’ Julian McKeown, who has been elected Omagh Chamber of Commerce’s new President, from everybody at Omagh Enterprise Company.

Omagh accountant Julian McKeown has been elected as the new president of the town’s chamber of commerce.

The owner of Abac Chartered Accountants was named at the Omagh Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting in Kampar restaurant in Castle Street yesterday evening (Wednesday).

He takes over the reins from outgoing president Kevin Martin, who held the role in an extremely busy year that has seen the opening of the new extension to the Omagh Enterprise Company, the exciting new links between the South West College and China, the green light given to the Lisanelly Shared Education Campus plus the ongoing wrangling over the A5 dual carriageway.

Speaking last night, the delighted new president described the chamber of commerce as a “a fantastic organisation” and revealed his positivity for the coming year.

“There has been a lot that has happened over the last few months from the new Innovation Growth Centre, the commitment to the Lisanelly project and the G8 coming to Northern Ireland, which will help tourism. Although they might not be getting the results just yet, people are starting to get positive, take the initiative and take risks again.”

Based in Omagh for 11 years, Mr McKeown advises business owners from the very small enterprise to large corporations on a daily basis, providing lectures to growth programmes as well as to local college and managerial programmes.

The chartered accountant is also a regular columnist with the Ulster Herald and tax spokesperson for the Federation of Small Businesses in Northern Ireland. Pledging to continue with quarterly meetings with local MLAs, the new president said the chamber would continue to lobby government for investment in Omagh and said he hoped to continue the success of the ongoing partnership between the chamber and the
Ulster Herald in delivering the Omagh Business Awards.

“This has been a challenging time, people having been finding ways around it and trying to stay motivated, so we want to work together to keep it going.”

Mr McKeown said while the environmental issues surrounding the hold up of the A5, he pledged that the chamber will continue to push for the implementation of the huge infrastructure project.

“We still very much believe in the need for the west to be connected and that this will bring change. We will continue to lobby for it.”

Paying tribute to outgoing president Kevin Martin, he added, “His wisdom has been indispensable, he has been there before and he stepped up again and I hope I can do as well as he did.”

Reflecting on a “a busy year”,  Mr Martin paid tribute to Omagh’s “resourceful people” and “dynamic institutions” and wished the new president luck for his tenure.

The veteran businessman also appealed for younger people in the area to become active within their community.

“I would like younger people to get involved in making their contribution. Young people get frustrated sometimes saying they can’t input, but they can.

“The chamber is a good forum towards politics and we need more young bright people doing that. You get to understand the workings of government and how you can contribute, because most of us don’t know until it is too late.”

With Omagh and Fermanagh councils set to merge in 2015, Mr Martin also suggested the new ‘super council’ should look to the successful revolving administration of the South West College.

For information on how to join the chamber contact Elaine Fyffe Harper on 028 8224 9494 or