Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

We need change from our elected representatives

FOLLOWING the failure of the Haass talks, will the embarrassment mooted in advance by Martin McGuinness engulf our politicians? Hardly; they seem impervious to the evidence of failure.

It is sad, though, that our would-be replacements are little better, as evidenced by the weak and superficial arguments proffered by Ukip's Henry Reilly (DebateNI, January 2).

Mr Reilly's argument ran like this: lower corporation tax and GB and the Republic will follow suit, robbing Northern Ireland of investment, jobs and, ultimately, lead to economic meltdown.

As arguments go, this one lacks credibility. It relies entirely on fear: fear of change and fear that Northern Ireland lacks the energy companies.

His argument would rob Northern Ireland of the opportunity to grow a successful private sector, providing employment and highly-paid jobs for the many talented people who regularly leave our shores.

Mr Reilly chooses to ignore the evidence produced by the Economic Research Unit that making Northern Ireland competitive with our land neighbours would attract inward investment, create many highly-paid jobs and would ultimately recoup the lost block grant – and more.

Success in anything requires us all to grab opportunities. Haass failed and will continue to fail unless we demand change from our elected representatives.

We need to begin that change process by electing leaders at council and European level with the ability to mould change and who see that all our futures rise or fall together.

ALAN PATTERSON

Ballynahinch, Co Down

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