Where a new political process is quietly getting on with the job creation

Chennai bound - Deputy Lord Mayor Sam Nicholson with Peter McKeever of Long Meadow Cider, Kerrie Walker from New Found Joy and Damien McCrory of Kestrel Foods
Chennai bound - Deputy Lord Mayor Sam Nicholson with Peter McKeever of Long Meadow Cider, Kerrie Walker from New Found Joy and Damien McCrory of Kestrel Foods

After a year we’ve become acclimatised to the sound of silence emanating from Stormont.

So far, the new talks have done absolutely nothing to shatter the sullen calm nor, consequently, to take any steps towards improving the lot of the average person in Northern Ireland.

But elsewhere, in a parallel world, there are the signs of meaningful political progress.

For 30-odd years local councils here were little more than bear pits where the representatives parties of our divided society looked after emptying the bins, burying the dead and running the leisure centre while hurling abuse at each other in the only politicial forum available.

After the re-organisation of local government in the wake of the McCrory Report, there was little else for them to do since housing, schools, health and roads had been removed from their control.

Things have changed since then.

We may still be suffering a political deficit from those years but, in some areas in particular, the peace process and burgeoning globalisation has forged a new bond between the old political enemies and the business community which had largely disengaged from the mid-70s on.

What’s more, the representatives of those same political parties now pouting at each other in Belfast, are working together to promote the sort of inititiatives that would have been unimaginable 20 years ago.

This week, while Prime Minister Theresa may leads a UK-wide delegation to China with two local firms in its ranks, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is in India with 11 ambitious local businesses seeking to secure and grow their export links and trade to the subcontinent.

Companies such as Long Meadow Cider, OBE Waste & Agri Engineering, Linwoods, Glen Dimplex and Kestrel Foods are visiting the eastern city of Chennai as part of a series of initiatives designed by the council as part of its commitment to drive business growth and opportunity for local businesses.

It’s an admirable attempt by the council to play its part as it aims to create 8,000 new jobs in the borough by 2026.

Last year a mission travelled to GB and later this year another lot are off to North America.

It that doesn’t spell political progress I’d like to know what does.