IoD chief in fresh call to restore Executive following Derry violence
Top business body the Institute of Directors (IoD) has called on the Irish and UK governments to intensify their efforts to help restore the Northern Ireland Executive.
IoD Northern Ireland chairman Gordon Milligan told business leaders in Londonderry that recent violence in the city showed a "political vacuum" had developed due to the absence of a functioning Assembly.
Petrol bombs were thrown at police officers over six nights of disturbances in Derry earlier this month, while there was also violence in east Belfast.
Mr Milligan said events such as the Foyle Maritime Festival, which took place last week, were a more fitting reflection of the city's spirit.
Speaking during the festival, Mr Milligan said: "We have been without an Executive for the last 19 months in Northern Ireland.
"Worryingly we have seen what happens when a political vacuum emerges as witnessed in Derry and east Belfast recently.
"This small minority are determined to bring us back to the old days, but being here today and seeing the hustle and bustle of the Foyle Maritime Festival and Clipper race reflects the true spirit of this city."
The IoD said that around £1bn in investment is being held up due the absence of the Executive.
A judicial review decision by the High Court overturning the granting of planning permission by civil servants to a controversial £240m waste incinerator in Mallusk has meant that no big public spending decisions are being made.
Mr Milligan added: "As citizens we deserve better, our children deserve more.
"That's why today we are calling on British and Irish governments and all the political parties to leverage the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference this week to redouble their efforts and work together to achieve the earliest operation of the devolved institutions."
During her two-day visit last week, Prime Minister Theresa May said she regretted that Northern Ireland had been without an Executive for so long and she called for a fresh round of talks to restore power-sharing.