In response to your first question, the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and the announcement of the peace process almost five years ago, when I was then in another Border county, has had a positive effect on business in a number of ways. First, from the point of view of tourism, a number of micro-businesses in the tourism sector have actively encouraged southerners - we call them southerners - to actually travel to the Border area and to the North of Ireland to help business. They also encourage more northerners to travel south. In addition, there has been an increase in the level of trade on a cross-Border basis.
While there was always openness for organisations and State organisations at local level to engage with each other, since the signing of the Agreement there has been a much more positive response and engagement from both sides. The availability of funding provided opportunities for organisations, companies and individuals and that has probably also helped.
The sterling/punt differential is also adding to the development of trade, particularly in the southern Border counties. We are getting a very large number of inquiries from companies in the North of Ireland. While they may not be considering relocating to County Donegal, they are looking to setting up companies to avail of the benefit of the currency differential and the fact that a significant number of people are still unemployed makes the availability of labour not such a great issue.
With regard to the perception, or the reality, of the proliferation of organisations, the fact that there are at least three sources of additional funding is a factor. There are the INTEREG and the Peace and Reconciliation funds, which has two bodies administering the funding, Co-Operation Ireland in Belfast, which was a business related body, and ADMCPA. In addition, the International Fund for Ireland has been in existence for the past ten or 15 years. They do not interfere with the operations of the likes of Enterprise Ireland, Údarás na Gaeltachta, the enterprise boards, FÁS or even Leader companies and partnerships companies because we as State organisations and local development organisations can apply to and access those funding mechanisms and use them for the benefit of our client companies.
There are three Border networks in the Border area. They have played a key and developing role over the last three or four years in trying to co-ordinate a more meaningful way of developing more cross-Border projects. I understand that perhaps in the next round of INTEREG and the Peace and Reconciliation funding they may even have a greater role to play in terms of acting as possible conduits for that money and for delivery agents like ourselves and Enterprise Ireland.