Relations between the Stormont Executive and the Irish Government are better than any time in the past, First Minister Peter Robinson has declared.
In a major address in Dublin, the DUP leader also pledged to help build on cross-border connections — but played down the need for ministerial contact.
“A good road, a favourable exchange rate, a successful rugby team, a good speed dial contact with a ministerial colleague will do more for north-south relations than any amount of Ministerial Council meetings,” he argued.
And he said the British Government’s £7bn loan to the Republic had made “sense” for Northern Ireland also.
“The Northern Ireland Executive and Irish Government share significant economic and budgetary challenges.
“I believe that we have better relationships than has been the case at any time in the past,” he told the audience from Chartered Accountants Ireland.
The First Minister also said the complex issue of devolved corporation tax powers was perhaps the most important decision the Executive will have to take in this term of the Assembly.