A new business network was launched yesterday to promote the growing trade links between Ireland and Scotland.

Founders of the not-for-profit Irish Business Network Scotland aim to bring together businesses from the two countries, taking advantage of the “unprecedented” levels of trade that currently exist between them.

Speaking at the network's launch in Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, yesterday, Irish Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said: “The establishment of the Irish Business Network is further evidence of the already close co-operation that exists between Ireland and Scotland at so many levels.

“The network will provide an opportunity to bring together businesses from the two countries for their mutual benefit. The Irish Government is especially keen to foster such links.”

Sampling local culture w/Scottish Cabinet Secretary @FionaHyslop before addressing the @IrishBusNetwork in Edinburgh pic.twitter.com/MyF2VsDRKB

— Paschal Donohoe (@Paschald) June 8, 2016

Minister Donohoe also said the network should help unlock $319 million in European Commission funding for collaborations across boundaries, including Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“Scottish exports to Ireland are worth around £1.125 billion [$1.632 billion] while the turnover of Irish businesses here in Scotland is over £2.5bn [€3.6 billion], supporting nearly 6,000 jobs,” added Scottish external affairs minister Fiona Hyslop.

“The Scottish Government is pleased to welcome the development of the Irish Business Network Scotland to provide a way for businesses wanting to expand to tap into companies with experience already located in Scotland.”

Scottish Minister @FionaHyslop welcomes launch of Irish Business Network Scotland #IBNS @IrishBusNetwork pic.twitter.com/BdWMx5t3I3

— Karen Watt (@KarenVWatt) June 8, 2016

With support from both the Irish and Scottish governments, the network expects to draw members from the established Irish business community in Scotland, including founding member Allied Irish Bank, which already has branches in Edinburgh and Glasgow. AIB is interested in working with Scottish energy, technology, construction and life science companies.

The network also expects to attract firms from both countries looking to expand.

“We want to create a network that shares ideas and information, creates opportunities for partnerships and collaborations,” said Founding chairman Colm Moloney, “and taps into the experience of those people and companies that have made a success of broadening their horizons across the Irish Sea.”

Read more: Tunnel or bridge between Scotland and Ireland under discussion

H/T: The Scotsman