Belfast Telegraph

Business leaders unhappy with Northern Ireland political stalemate

By Emma Deighan

Business leaders have hit out at Northern Ireland politicians for leaving a "vacuum" instead of taking key decisions in the wake of yesterday's incinerator ruling.

A High Court judge blocked the controversial £240m incinerator in Mallusk after it had been approved by a Department for Infrastructure civil servant last September.

Politicians said it was not permanent secretary Peter May's decision to take.

Kirsty McManus, divisional director at the Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland, raised concerns at the precedent the move has set.

She said: "Having talked with many of the business leaders we represent, they are exasperated at the ongoing political vacuum and the adverse effect it is having on business here in Northern Ireland."

She said the legal ruling "effectively pulls the rug from under the feet of the permanent secretaries who were forced into making decisions our absent politicians should have overseen".

Her comments come after a boss from one of Northern Ireland's fastest-growing companies, Novosco, called politicians here "bloody useless".

In an interview with the Sunday Business Post, John Lennon, the head of the cloud computing firm which has over 180 staff, said: "Northern Ireland politics depress me, and I think a lot of the business community feel the same. To be honest, I just ignore the politicians here because they're all bloody useless."

Novosco has been at the frontline of technology development here having expanded from just one office in Belfast to opening up two other units in Dublin and Manchester.

Mr Lennon, whose firm turns over £30m annually, added: "There's nobody fighting for us in Westminster. We've got no voice. It's a complete disaster but we just have to get on with it."

Bill Wolsey, managing director of Beannchor, the group behind The Merchant Hotel, Little Wing pizza chain and the Bullitt Hotel, said: "The political stalemate is far from helpful in the current business climate, particularly in light of the uncertainty around Brexit.

"That being said, we will not let the inaction of our politicians deter us from continuing to push our business forward. We are committed to investing in Northern Ireland and to making a positive socio-economic impact in our society. It would be encouraging to see this same leadership from our politicians."

Belfast Telegraph

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