Trade body alliance urges NI political leaders to 'get back to work'
A new alliance of Northern Ireland trade bodies has issued a fresh call for political parties here to restore devolution, three months on from the killing of journalist Lyra McKee.
Trade NI emerged last month after Hospitality Ulster, Manufacturing NI and Retail NI combined their efforts in order to support businesses through the ongoing uncertainty caused by Brexit and the continued absence of a functioning Executive at Stormont.
It produced Northern Ireland's largest business coalition, representing the majority of private sector employers here.
In an open message to political leaders, the chief executives of the three business groups -Glyn Roberts, Colin Neill and Stephen Kelly - called on parties to "get back to work".
"It is now three months since the tragic murder of Lyra McKee and the resulting overwhelming heartfelt pleas from all sections of society for the political parties to get on and conclude a deal," it said.
"Lyra's murder was the catalyst for the current talks process and getting a deal over the line would be the best way to honour her memory.
"Our elected politicians are there to support the people and the economy. It's time to get back to work. We would ask that all politicians seek progress with an attitude of compromise and recognition of the many challenges our economy and society faces.
"Businesses have an economic right to succeed and be competitive. These rights will be the greatest guarantee of prosperity and peace in the years ahead.
"As we face massive changes to the world economy such as climate change, trade wars and the recent report from the Department for the Economy, which revealed our economy could lose up to 40,000 jobs in the wake of a no-deal Brexit, we need local ministers in place to deal with these huge challenges.
"Now more than ever we need our political leaders to lead the way with big, bold solutions and to make the difficult decisions. Real leaders do not see problems, they seek solutions.
"We want to see a Northern Ireland which is an outward looking, confident, tolerant, welcoming and inclusive region that has something to give to the rest of the world.
"Northern Ireland can only achieve this with its own devolved government leading the way and shaping a prosperous future for all."