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Executive meetings to take place in Fermanagh and Londonderry

Published 28/01/2016

Arlene Foster promised to share economic prosperity across the country
Arlene Foster promised to share economic prosperity across the country

Executive meetings are to be held in Fermanagh and Londonderry in the coming weeks as the First Minister pledged to extend politics to every town and community in Northern Ireland.

Arlene Foster promised to share economic prosperity across the country and said people from every background and walk of life should be valued.

She said Northern Ireland had become a place where culture could be celebrated and respected. But she warned politicians needed to listen to their constituents in a bid to better understand the tasks ahead.

"I believe that politics should be a feature of every town and every community and that our elected representatives should get out and meet local people in their own constituencies," she said.

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone assembly member was recently named First Minister and succeeds Peter Robinson at the head of the Executive and the DUP.

Mrs Foster delivered a keynote address at a leadership event in Belfast hosted by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

She said one of the first suggestions she made to deputy first minister Martin McGuinness was that before the elections in May they should take Executive meetings outside Belfast, and they agreed to hold meetings in Fermanagh and Londonderry in the coming weeks.

The senior Democratic Unionist said growing the Northern Ireland economy remains the number one priority of the Executive.

She said: "This requires leadership not just from politicians but from everyone with entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen.

"During my time in office, I want to see a Northern Ireland where economic prosperity is achieved and shared right across the province and where we value people from every background and every walk of life and make them as proud of this country as we are.

"Northern Ireland has become a place where we can celebrate our culture and respect that of others. By working together Government can reform and work for the good of all our people and I will work with everyone to make sure this happens."

She said she was proud of Northern Ireland.

"As first minister, making our country better for all is not just my duty, it is my privilege.

"True leadership is about service not power and I am particularly proud of the role I played as economy minister.

"We have brought more jobs to Northern Ireland than at any time in our history and we have secured the power to set our own rate of corporation tax at 12.5% from April 2018.

"When others would have walked away from corporation tax because it was too big or too complex we stayed the course because the prize is too great."

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