Wed 22nd Feb 2017
Sinn Féin Leader outlines plans for jobs and the economy
Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill today (Wednesday 22 February 2017) outlined her plans for jobs and the economy to leading members of the Northern Ireland business community ahead of the forthcoming election.
The Sinn Féin leader was speaking at the latest event of the ‘5 Leaders; 5 Days’ series, a programme of events organised by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) at which the party leader from five main political parties outline their plans for jobs, growth and the economy.
Today’s event followed previous addresses by DUP leader Arlene Foster and Ulster Unionist Leader Mike Nesbitt last week.
Speaking at this morning’s event in Magherafelt, her first keynote address to businesses since becoming Party Leader, Ms O’Neill said:
“Between 2016 and 2021, we are committed to spending £6 billion on infrastructure and to do so in a way that helps address regional deficits, so as jobs and prosperity are balanced across our cities and towns. That is why we have placed a focus on the completion of the A5 and A6 major road projects because they are key to building connectivity and unlocking economic potential.
“We are committed to investing in skills and jobs and ensuring that our higher education sector and universities are funded in order to deliver the skills demanded by the economy.
“We will continue to work to achieve a single integrated economy on the Island of Ireland to the mutual benefit of everyone.
“Driving forward all-island co-operation and integration within public services is also critical, such as the new £70m radiotherapy centre at Altnagelvin Hospital which is an exemplar of cross-border working for the benefit of all.
“Undoubtedly the biggest threat to jobs and our economy in the current climate is Brexit. It will have a catastrophic impact across the island of Ireland. Sinn Féin has set out our proposals for achieving designated special status for the North to remain within the EU. That is the best way forward and it is imperative that the whole island of Ireland remains in the EU together to protect trade, jobs and citizens’ rights.
“We are currently on a diplomatic offensive across Europe where we are finding a lot of sympathy for the North to remain. But we need wider civic society, the business sector, trade unions and everyone who opposes Brexit to work together on that offensive. This period in our history will likely be defined by Brexit so there is a duty on us all to defend the rights of the cross community majority who voted to Remain.”
Nick Coburn, President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said:
“NI Chamber was delighted to host the first speech to business by Sinn Féin Party Leader Michelle O’Neill. We welcome her Party’s focus on infrastructure and ensuring that trade, business development and skills is at the centre of any Brexit deal.”
Alliance leader Naomi Long will address businesses at Lisburn’s Boomer Industries on Friday 24 February with SDLP’s Colum Eastwood concluding the series on Monday 27 February at Belfast’s Mount Charles Group.
Sinn Féin Leader Michelle O’Neill pictured with NI Chamber Chief Executive Ann McGregor, Bloc Blinds Managing Director Cormac Diamond and NI Chamber President Nick Coburn. The Sinn Féin Leader was speaking at the third event of the ‘5 Leaders, 5 Days’ series – a programme of events organised by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) at which the party leader from five main political parties will outline their plans for jobs, growth and the economy. Today’s event took at place at Bloc Blinds in Magherafelt.