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New Chamber President Praises Omagh’s ‘Huge Business Potential’

New Chamber President standing at the top of Omagh High Street. Blue Banner along the bottom. White text "New Chamber President Praises Omagh’s ‘Huge Business Potential’" Omagh Enterprise logo within banner.

THE new president of Omagh’s Chamber of Commerce has downplayed figures that suggest the county town might be a bad place for business.

The relevant statistics indicate that Fermanagh and Omagh is the ‘worst area in the North to start a business’, with closures almost twice as common as openings between 2022 and 2024.

The data – which emerged when MRPeasy analysed data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) – revealed that Belfast is the best area in the North to start a commercial enterprise, closely followed by neighbouring districts Mid and East Antrim, and Antrim and Newtownabbey.

Beyond that, in desending order, the rankings read: Mid Ulster, Derry City and Strabane, Ards and North Down, Lisburn and Castlereagh, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Newry, Mourne and Down, Causeway Coast and, lastly, Fermanagh and Omagh.

However, while these numbers will have troubled Omagh’s business community at first glance, John Edgar, the newly-appointed president of the town’s Chamber, said that the figures are ‘not as frightening as they might first seem’.

“The first thing I would say is that, as with any stats, these numbers are black and white and lack important context,” Mr Edgar said.

“Belfast, being the largest city and capital, has a history of business, investment, and, consequently, already has the requisite infrastructure to support everything which that entails.

“Unsurprisingly, the next two most business-friendly places on the list are satellite districts of Belfast, which, without too much of a stretch, could be considered part of the same economic eco-system.

“After that we have Mid Ulster, the engineering capital of the North, then Derry City and Strabane, which, in part, attracts investment because of Derry’s city status and the characteristics that come with that. Beyond that, the differences between the different districts are nominal; you’re talking small decimals.”

However, while Mr Edgar was keen to make sure that Fermanagh and Omagh was not unfairly burdened with the label ‘worst area in the North to start a business’, he did acknowledge there are problems in need of redress.

“A big issue is the lack of infrastructure, which, as well being the result of other historical political issues, is partly down to us being the district furthest from Belfast.

“However, I, as well as anybody who knows Omagh well, see that we have huge business potential. With some government support and a revitalised Chamber of Commerce, I think we will not see more businesses set up in the county town, but we will also see those same businesses survive and prosper.”


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