Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Executive inactivity just not excusable

The survey carried out by the Chief Executives Club at its meeting last week was based on a smaller sample than the industry norm, but its findings were still devastating.

No fewer than 83% of those who took part in the electronic poll described the Stormont Executive as a “hindrance” to economic growth in the province.

It was a damning indictment of devolution and no doubt the strength of feeling was exacerbated by the fact that the Executive has not met since June.

The longer the deadlock between Sinn Fein and the DUP persists, the worse the image of the Assembly in general and Ministers in particular will become.

At a time when unemployment is on the rise month by month, and jobs are being shed across the province, the inactivity on the part of the Executive is inexcusable.

Those points of principle which seem to be keeping the two sides apart are of no importance whatsoever to people who are finding themselves thrown out of work.

Of course, it should be pointed out that even if the Executive was meeting, local Ministers could not hope to reverse the entire impact of the global downturn.

But crucially, they could loosen the purse strings and allow already approved infrastructure projects to go ahead, thereby alleviating the plight of the construction industry.

Northern Ireland’s non-functioning Executive is not only an embarrassment to the province — it is also making a bad economic situation a great deal worse.

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