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Dublin-Belfast economic corridor plans to be revealed

Plans for an economic corridor between Dublin and Belfast will be launched by the eight local authorities it passes through.

Four local councils on each side of the border have joined forces to launch the initiative today.

A report - 'The Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor: Current Profile, Potential for Recovery & Opportunities for Cooperation' - has been prepared jointly by Dublin City University and Ulster University.

Its findings will be revealed in an online event that will include contributions from Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Stormont Finance Minister Conor Murphy.

The four Northern Ireland councils involved are Belfast, Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, Lisburn and Castlereagh, and Newry, Mourne and Down.

Those in the Republic are Dublin City Council, Fingal, Louth, and Meath.

More than two million people live in the eight council areas the proposed economic corridor passes through.

The report says the population is younger and more diverse than any other part of the island of Ireland, with 15% born off the island.

It says there is scope for significant collaboration and economic growth.

But the authors also acknowledge there will not be any quick fix, describing the approach required as a "slow burn" rather than a "Big Bang."

One of the companies hoping to benefit from enhanced investment and infrastructure along the route is STATSports, a leading provider of GPS player tracking and analysis equipment.

The system enables elite sports teams to monitor fitness and performance levels and is now used in more than 100 countries.

Customers include 14 teams in the English Premier League as well as other major European leagues, and others in the worlds of Gaelic Football, rugby, basketball, American Football, hockey and athletics.

The company started life in Dundalk but moved to larger premises in Newry in Co Down, where it now employs more than 100 people. It also has offices in London, Chicago and Florida.

STATSports Technical Director Paul Johnson said being located along the Dublin-Belfast corridor is a key factor for its continued success.

"From an employment point of view, it’s really important for us to be within the corridor of Dublin and Belfast, right here in the sweet spot where we’re attracting resources," he said.

"We’ve employees from as far south as south Dublin, and as far north as north Belfast.

"That whole corridor allows us to get really high resources across multi-faceted departments, whether it's sports science, whether it's operations, whether it's sales, so it hits the whole gambit and that's really important for us in regards to driving our business and pushing this forward globally," he said.

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