Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 20 November 2014

Executive set to meet as public demands action on economy

Grey power: Hundreds of pensioners gathered at Stormont yesterday to demand action from the Assembly on the rising costs in food and energy bills

Northern Ireland’s deadlocked Executive is set to be back in business this Thursday, it emerged last night.

The political deep freeze which has prevented the Stormont government meeting for more than five months is thawing.

And the first item to be dealt with if Ministers sit round the table this week is likely to be a fuel poverty action plan, according to senior sources.

The meeting could also attempt to boost the ailing construction industry by kick-starting a number of projects.

First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will today brief the Stormont committee dealing with the transfer of policing and justice powers — the issue which has been at the heart of the 152-day impasse.

Barring a last minute setback, the private session should pave the way for a sequence of events clearing the way for a fully resumed Executive session on Thursday.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams confirmed “some progress” has been made on policing and justice but a number of other issues — academic selection and the school transfer system, the future of the Maze national stadium project and legislation underpinning Irish language — have also been in the mix.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the DUP and Sinn Fein wanted a deal before senior members visit the United States in the near future and preferably before the BBC’s Question Time programme is broadcast from Northern Ireland early next month.

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