Business leaders in the North West have urged Northern Ireland’s warring politicians to get their act together in a bid to slow the economic downturn.
Ian Crowe, president of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, has described September 18 — when the Executive is due to meet again — as “the next big make or break day in the governance of Northern Ireland”.
"It's been a long, slow summer," he said. "Business is itching to get moving again.
“With the credit crunch biting at the heels, talk of economic downturn and recession shaking confidence, and (the Chancellor) Alastair Darling’s bleak outlook on the future for the economy, the business community faces enough challenges staying ahead of the game, or even standing still, without having to face delayed decision making in a hesitant Executive."
Mr Crowe continued: "Since the devolution of powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Executive has had the full support of our members.
“We've been pleased with progress and with the emphasis on the economy in the Programme for Government and budget.
“That's not to say there aren’t still challenges ahead and a job to be done in terms of the optimum environment which businesses need in order to grow and develop. But we can't get the job done if our decision makers aren't making decisions."
"Business confidence is still there but is it being sorely tested by delays and failure to get on with things."
Mr Crowe said he realises that the political stagnation is affecting all of Northern Ireland, not just the North West.
He added: “Northern Ireland plc suffers when our public representatives can't get round their political issues and get down to business, but areas like the North West, where the economy isn't as buoyant, are affected more by any dip in confidence."