Belfast Telegraph

Politicians 'must focus on shared future document'

By David Elliott

All the main business organisations have called on politicians here to give serious consideration to a new document setting out plans for a shared future in Northern Ireland.

The Business Alliance said Stormont needs to act on the Key Steps Towards a Shared Future report and make progress on the issue to secure our economic future.

"In order for Northern Ireland to have a stable and prosperous future, establishing a strategy for a Shared Future is an absolute priority and there is an economic imperative for meeting this challenge with absolute commitment," a spokesman for the group said.

"We welcome the publication of The Key Steps Towards a Shared Future (published by the Shared Future Forum) which makes a valuable contribution to all the main issues which need to be addressed: identity and respect; victims; marching; education and housing."

The Business Alliance, an umbrella organisation for CBI Northern Ireland, Centre for Competitiveness, the Institute of Directors and the NI Chamber of Commerce, said politicians need to listen to the recommendations.

"We would urge all our political leaders to give the report serious consideration."

The group's comments follow suggestions by Secretary of State Theresa Villiers that support for Northern Ireland's industry could be withheld by the Treasury if progress is not made on a shared future.

Shared Future Forum chairman Denis Rooney welcomed the encouragement given by the Business Alliance.

"We have distributed this report to selected key stakeholders to try to gather support for its recommendations.

"The relative inertia on delivering the steps towards a shared future is undermining our ability to putting in the building blocks to bring us out of this historical negative cycle."

Belfast Telegraph