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Executive takes to the road with tour of Ulster's towns

By Noel McAdam

Published 26/02/2016

The First and Deputy First Minister with ministers and senior civil servants in Enniskillen
The First and Deputy First Minister with ministers and senior civil servants in Enniskillen

Northern Ireland's Executive has gone on the road for the first time - to escape their Stormont 'bubble'.

Ministers held their first visit in Enniskillen and, in a fortnight, are due to travel to Londonderry before travelling to other towns in the province.

The Executive has held 'away days' in the past, usually at a point of crisis and held at less public locations.

But now the Executive will be 'on tour' more regularly.

There had been some criticism however, that in a pre-election period the first two towns being visited were Enniskillen - in the First Minister's constituency - and Londonderry, home of the Deputy First Minister.

Mr McGuinness said, however: "As political leaders, we are sometimes accused of working in the Stormont bubble but this is an opportunity to bring the work of the Executive out to those people who elect us."

Only one of the 12 Executive ministers was missing, Enterprise and Trade Minister Jonathan Bell, who is on a trade mission in Dubai.

Before the Executive meeting got under way, Mrs Foster and Mr McGuinness met with members of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, in whose town centre offices the Executive meeting took place.

Junior Ministers Emma Pengelly and Jennifer McCann were also present.

Mrs Foster said: "This approach provides ministers with the opportunity to visit and learn about areas relating to their department when they are in the area."

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