First Minister Designate Michelle O’Neill has highlighted the unique economic opportunities now available to our economy and to our businesses but has expressed her deep frustration that political instability and uncertainty could see these opportunities squandered.
Speaking at a meeting of the British-Irish Chamber in Belfast tonight, Michelle O’Neill emphasized the urgent need for the immediate restoration of the Executive.
Michelle O’Neill said:
“This a time of huge opportunity for our local businesses as the north now has a real competitive economic advantage. The recent deal between the EU and British Government has unlocked unique and unparalleled access for our businesses to both the EU and British markets.
“In the weeks ahead, the eyes of the world will be on us as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and the enormous interest that will accompany the visit of the US President Joe Biden.
“We need political stability and a functioning Executive to grasp that major opportunity to create good jobs, grow our businesses and strengthen our economy.
“Alongside seizing the economic opportunities available to us, a restored Executive should adopt three key economic priorities; transforming Invest NI to ensure it works more effectively, tackling skills shortages and making childcare affordable.
“It would be unforgivable if the opportunities now available to us are squandered by the DUP’s boycott of the Executive and their refusal to work with the rest of us to create jobs and build our economy.
“Public patience has long run out with this delay and uncertainty. They want an Executive now. Our people can’t wait. Our businesses can’t wait and, critically, international investors will not wait.
“Our frontline youth and community workers and our public services are seeing the devastating consequences of Brexit and the loss of millions of pounds of European funding from our economy. Yet there are no local ministers in place to take decisions. There is no world in which that makes economic or political sense.
“It is time to move forward. It is time to work together and to put our shared economic priorities ahead of narrow party political interests or electoral advantage.”