Posted on Wednesday 30 January 2019 by John Mulgrew

Ulster Business editor

History is not going to look kindly on the rambling, rudderless and self-interest focused circus we have found ourselves in – and we need to remember that, writes John Mulgrew.

Whatever, whatever happens to the Northern Ireland and UK economy as a whole – even in the event, however unlikely, that GDP grows and we become more prosperous – how we ended up where we are, who was responsible for it, and who waved the flags, won’t be forgotten.

The ‘chippy’ remark in Parliament is another example of the lack of seriousness being afforded to the greatest societal and political upheaval in a generation.

The UK is currently the laughing stock of Europe and beyond – the fiasco surrounding the Brexit negotiations transcending political and financial news to end up in the world of meme. You’ll find them scattered across the corners of the web.

Today Catalyst Inc launched its annual report into the impact of the knowledge economy in Northern Ireland, and its huge importance and contribution to the region.

And there’s a real sense, stronger than I’ve ever felt, among the vast, vast majority of people here, especially businesses, that the political system is so far out of sync of what’s actually going on, that it has completely disconnected with it.

While it’s hard to take any of what’s being said by some seriously, we had the claim from one politician (in a now deleted tweet) that just 100 lorries make the trip across the Irish border each day.

This, of course, was promptly corrected by Seamus Leheny of the Freight Transport Association. The real figure? Around 13,000 on just 14 roads.

The reaction today that the UK will go back to the drawing board with the EU on finding a fresh exit solution was met with much head shaking. Tanaiste Simon Coveney described the situation as ‘extraordinary’ while Angela Merkel rejected any renegotiation of the existing withdrawal agreement.

How do you run a business when this is what we are dealing with? I can feel the frustration among almost every single company I speak to.

The countdown to Brexit is now at 58 days… who knows what’s around the corner?




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