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Deirdre to leave Chamber of Commerce 05.02.08

Buncrana exhibition company takes on the King's Hall

BUNCRANA Chamber of Commerce manager Deirdre Bradley is leaving her post to head up a major new exhibition centre for the North West.
Deirdre has joined new Buncrana-based company North West Exhibitions Ltd., for the launch of its 27,000sq ft space at Coshquin on the Derry-Donegal border. The centre will be the third biggest exhibition space in the country after the RDS in Dublin and the King's Hall in Belfast. It is expected it will create a number of jobs in the run-up and during each show including registration personnel, stewards, car park attendants and catering staff.
Carndonagh-born Deirdre will leave her current post on Friday and, with just the weekend to catch a breather, will be at her new desk on Monday. Her first project as exhibitions manager will be a four-day Ideal Homes Exhibition scheduled for May 30 to June 2.
Speaking to InishowenNews.com, the outgoing Chamber manager said her decision to leave after four years was "heartbreaking" but she believes the time was right for
Deirdre Bradley
a change of direction.
"What can I say? I'm very sad to be leaving the Chamber because I made a lot of very good friends during my time there. But the timing for a change of direction feels right to me.
"The reason the job with North West Exhibitions Ltd., appealed to me so much was because it is very similar to the work I was doing. I'll still be working with business people and will be giving them an opportunity to showcase their businesses. We'll be giving companies in the North West an opportunity to show their products and services on their own doorsteps without them having to travel all the way to exhibition halls in Dublin or Belfast."
The 41-year old's personality and professionalism saw her become one of the best business advocates for the region. She found her niche after joining the Buncrana Chamber as an administrator on a FAS/Jobs Initiative Scheme in 2003. This followed a much-loved stint as a classroom assistant in the Irish language pre-school in her hometown. She would actively encourage people to get involved with the "fantastic" Jobs Initiative programme and "take all the training that's going". It definitely stood to her. Under her watch, the Chamber grew from a 70-member non-active organisation to a vibrant 110-member lobby group for Inishowen with a dedicated office - first at Ardaravan Square and latterly in the Buncrana Tourist Office. "The collaboration between the Chamber and North West Tourism worked out very well because the tourism aspect of business is hugely important to Inishowen and can't be ignored."
Husband to Kevin and mum to four children - Emer, 18, Matthew, 14, Ronan, 11 and Lorcan, 8, Deirdre, cut her teeth in exhibitions after organising two successful fashion shows and two trade shows in Buncrana. It was only a matter of time before other opportunities came knocking.
"Our last trade show, in 2007 in the Plaza, was a very big success. We had 54 exhibitors and 34 have already rebooked for this year, so it's a very good start for whoever takes over." Meanwhile, she now has her sights firmly set on her upcoming challenge and turning the North West Exhibition centre into a haven for all things 'home'. "We've had a brilliant response from traders so far and we hope to exhibit everything related to an ideal home, from beautiful kitchens and bathrooms to the best renewable energy systems." In the meantime, she has no intention of forgetting the people she worked with over the past four years. "Inishowen is a very important market to me. I'm glad I'll still be based in Buncrana, so they won't be getting rid of me that quick," she laughs. The Buncrana Chamber of Commerce committee meets for their agm tonight in Tullyarvan Mill, during which the issue of a replacement manager will be high on the agenda.
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