Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Cameron calls for Stormont progress

Prime Minister David Cameron meets shoppers in Coleraine High Street during his visit to Northern Ireland

Prime Minister David Cameron has challenged Northern Ireland's politicians to deliver on a shared future for their divided community.

Mr Cameron, visiting the region as part of his UK-wide Olympic tour, rejected claims he has failed to become involved in the peace process.

First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have said they have met the US president more often than the UK premier.

But Mr Cameron said it was a good thing that successful devolution of power to Stormont meant that crisis meetings with the Prime Minister were no longer a regular event.

"I am fully engaged and I want to see progress in Northern Ireland," he said.

Mr Cameron noted that he previously challenged Stormont leaders to bridge divisions between Protestants and Catholics, with legislation aimed at healing sectarian divisions.

But with agreement yet to be reached on the issue, he added: "I really want to see progress on that and it is local politicians that need to deliver on that."

He also confirmed politicians and Treasury officials will meet again in September or October to discuss the devolution of corporation tax powers to Stormont.

There are claims that difficulties have emerged over the issue of lowering the rate in Northern Ireland to help it compete with the Irish Republic.

Mr Cameron said: "There are difficult issues that have to be hammered out. But I am in no doubt that we need to do more to encourage the private sector and growth in the private sector in the Northern Irish economy."

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