Years of emnity and brinkmanship must be set aside to ensure that Northern Ireland’s ‘Fresh Start’ does not become a false start the head of a leading business body has claimed.
Speaking last night at the Chartered Accountants Ireland annual dinner at Belfast City Hall, its president Tony Nicholl said the Fresh Start agreement marked a significant step forward but added it was critical that politicians back up the words with action by starting to engage in economic politics.
“Instability is devastating. Northern Ireland has a great deal to offer as an investment location. It is a great place to live and it can be a great place in which to do business. We cannot afford to damage and disrupt our future any longer.
“We cannot risk our economy, our jobs and our reputation with potential investors, especially as we work to recover from the longest recession in living memory. Our politicians have a difficult job. Of course they want Northern Ireland to prosper. That is not in doubt. But we can no longer allow the past to delay our future.
“Unfortunately our political structures have been in disarray for many years. We have had many fresh starts and while the business community is hopeful, it remains to be seen whether or not this fresh start is in fact a false start.
“A number of our politicians at Stormont acknowledge the damage that the flag waving politics of the past has had on the business community.”
With the issue of corporation tax now apparently settled, he said politicians must appreciate that inward investment was to be widely welcomed.
“Northern Ireland has to make a shared future work, and a shared future committed to peace and prosperity, needs to start now.”