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Martin McGuinness resignation: Business groups warn of 'negative impact' on economy amid political turmoil


Former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, pictured with Arlene Foster

Former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, pictured with Arlene Foster

Former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, pictured with Arlene Foster

Political instability and turmoil at Stormont following the resignation of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will have a "negative impact" on the economy here, business groups have warned.

Mr McGuinness stepped down from his post as of 5pm on Monday, over Arlene Foster's refusal to stand aside during an investigation into the failed Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI).

It's now likely that will lead to a snap election being called.

And the current situation is “very concerning as political instability is neither good for business nor the economy”, according to Glyn Roberts, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association.

"If an Assembly election is to be called, we hope that it is done sooner rather than later to ensure a new administration is in place at the earliest opportunity to tackle these key challenges.

"However, an election is not going to fix the problems around the RHI scheme. We need to see real leadership from all the political parties to see us through this crisis."

The current situation at Stormont will add to business uncertainty and will have “a negative impact on economic and social development”, according to Nick Coburn, president of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Northern Ireland politicians should compromise and think about putting the country first.

“The NI Chamber has a track record of encouraging our politicians as they put policies in place which will facilitate and support economic and social development.

“So having remained as positive as we can for as long as we can, we have the credibility to say that throughout the business community there is presently a very deep sense of frustration at the instability which now characterises our political institutions.”

Angela McGowan, director of the CBI in Northern Ireland, said:

"The business community is not seeking to comment on the specifics that have given rise to today’s events other than to underline that there has seldom been a more important time for all our citizens to have a strong well-functioning Executive.

"Ahead of the triggering of Article 50, expected in March, Northern Ireland urgently requires strong leadership and representation as the UK negotiates its future relationship with the European Union.

"It is vital that our collective voice is heard during this crucial period to achieve the best possible outcome for all of our citizens."

The collapse of the Stormont Executive and Assembly is undoubtedly bad for NI business as many issues - such as Brexit and corporation tax still remain to be addressed.
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