Fri 2nd Jan 2015
Dec 14: Talking action means taking action
Nothing in Northern Ireland politics is ever straightforward. With the talks process facing a defining moment, Prime Minister David Cameron and Taoiseach Enda Kenny cleared their diaries to participate in the all-party talks concerning disputes on flags, parades, the past and welfare reform last Thursday and again on Friday morning.
At stake was long term political stability, resolution to the current financial and budgetary difficulties, and the devolution of corporation tax varying powers.
David Cameron left talks at Stormont saying a deal was not possible but that he had offered “financial fire power”.
The Prime Minister said he was offering what would amount to “almost £1bn of spending power for the coming years” if agreement could be reached.
While a final deal did not materialise the Prime Minister said good progress had been made by the parties. However, he said the real work that needs to be done is to make sure the budget of the Northern Ireland Executive is sustainable.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he believed the document put in front of the political parties on Thursday night addressed all of the issues.
But Corporation Tax still hangs in mid-air.
The Government has already stated that legislation will be introduced in this Parliament for the devolution of Corporation Tax powers to Northern Ireland “subject to satisfactory progress in the cross party talks.”
The question is can our politicians actually break the ongoing cycle of distrust to find a compromise that will focus more on the needs of future generations than on the needs of tribal party politics?
NI Chamber is one of a range of organisations to have had discussions with the main political parties in Northern Ireland in the run-up to the visit by the two leaders.
A successful outcome for the talks is imperative if Northern Ireland is to move forward. The business community expects and requires this to happen.
The business community will fully back a successful outcome to the talks but will see the failure to do so as a collective failure of our politicians from all quarters.
Negotiations between Northern Ireland’s political parties have been ongoing for 10 weeks and the process has intensified since the Chancellor announced that the devolution of Corporation Tax powers is conditional on political agreement between the parties.
That public pronouncement was important to hear and represents the culmination of a campaign which has been underway for some years and in which NI Chamber has played a central role.
Our political representatives have the power to lay the foundations for the future economic prosperity of Northern Ireland, we expect them to deliver.