Posted on Thursday 2 March 2017 by ub digital

Business stands shoulder to shoulder with education and voluntary sector

The business community has joined forces with the voluntary and education sectors to urge Northern Ireland's newly-elected representatives to do all in their power to deliver a power-sharing devolved government.

As voters go to the polls, the coalition – made up of business groups, universities and charity bodies – has written a joint open letter setting out three key asks from politicians at what they see as a crucial time for the region.

Firstly, it points out a devolved government was voted for in 1998 and has since delivered peace and increasing prosperity here.

Secondly it asks politicians to use the devolved power-sharing arrangement for the greater good; to “maintain the peace, compromise where necessary, show mutual respect and sensitivity to all communities, and work in partnership with business to deliver more economic prosperity for all”.

And thirdly the coalition wants the devolved government to ensure Northern Ireland’s economic, social and political interests are accurately and clearly represented at both the UK and European level.

“Given the immense changes that lie ahead as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, the economic stakes for Northern Ireland are exceptionally high,” the coalition said. “This in turn has clear implications for the peace process.

“The coalition believe that we all have a role to play in shaping the future of Northern Ireland – delivering peace and economic opportunity for future generations. Political participation through the electoral system is a responsibility all our citizens share whether young or old.

“People across Northern Ireland deserve a government that works and represents their economic and social interests. We implore Northern Ireland citizens to be clear in their ambitions for the future of this region and make their voice and their values heard at the ballot box and represented in our future local government.”

The letter was supported by the CBI, NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry, NI Council for Voluntary Action, FSB, Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University, Manufacturing Northern Ireland, Institute of Directors, Northern Ireland Independent Retail Association, Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland, Construction Employers Federation, Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, Northern Ireland Food & Drink Association, Ulster Farmers Union, and, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.

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