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Retail NI Meets Sinn Fein Leadership on Economic and Political Challenges

NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts and Board members Gavan Wall, David Barber and Pat Leneghan meeting with Mary Lou MacDonald and Michelle O'Neill at Titanic Hotel

A senior delegation from Retail NI has met the Sinn Fein Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD and Deputy Leader Michelle O ‘Neill MLA this afternoon over a working lunch to discuss current economic and political challenges.

At the meeting, Retail NI outlined the need for a ‘reboot’ of economic policy and the inclusion of key economic stakeholders in new discussions on a Programme for Government for an incoming Stormont administration.

Speaking after the meeting Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This was a very positive meeting with the Sinn Fein leadership, in which we discussed the current political crisis, Brexit and economic challenges facing Northern Ireland”

“Retail NI wants to see the restoration of a working Executive and Assembly, which will take the key decisions on infrastructure, economic development, reforming business rates and be a strong voice for Northern Ireland in forthcoming vital Brexit talks”

“Last week’s Court of Appeal decision on the incinerator has huge implications for millions of pounds of major infrastructure projects such as the Interconnector, York Street and many more applications”

“We believe that economic policy now needs to be rebooted, with a stronger focus on reforming business rates, infrastructure investment, skills and urban regeneration”

“In the eighteen months since the last Executive met, the world and the economy have moved on. An entirely new and radical approach is now needed to address the huge challenges facing Northern Ireland as we approach Brexit”

“Whilst still supportive of devolving Corporation Tax, reforming business rates is now a much higher priority for Retail NI members and needs to be addressed by an incoming Executive”

“The Rethinking Business Rates proposals put forward by the last Finance Minister, which was based on proposals put forward by Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster and supported by over thirty business groups, needs to be top priority”

“At our meeting with Sinn Fein, we suggested that the UK Government and five local political parties convene a broader Programme for Government forum with business and other key civic society groups. The purpose of this group would be to build upon the previous discussions among the parties on a new Programme for Government and include key representative groups to ensure that it has broader buy-in from the key economic stakeholders”

“Over the summer months, Retail NI will be seeking further meetings with the other party leaders to outline our ideas for a ‘rebooted’ economic agenda”

Note To Editors:

Pic shows Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts and Board members Gavan Wall, David Barber and Pat Leneghan meeting with Mary Lou MacDonald and Michelle O'Neill at Titanic Hotel this afternoon.

Glyn Roberts 07515710517