Belfast Telegraph

Martin McGuinness: Business and unions laud impact

By Noel McAdam

Business leaders and trade union chiefs have joined forces to pay tribute to the work of Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister over the last decade.

Northern Ireland's largest business organisation, the Federation of Small Businesses, said Mr McGuinness had a strong interest in the future of local firms.

Wilfred Mitchell, FSB NI policy chair, said: "He was instrumental in bringing about political stability through the peace process, which enabled the Northern Ireland economy to normalise. Mr McGuinness was a key advocate for the devolution of corporation tax powers to Northern Ireland to encourage investment in the future."

CBI NI regional chair David Gavaghan said Mr McGuinness's statesmanship as Deputy First Minister "has been central to the success of the peace process over the last decade".

He said "his passing comes at a time when we need to rededicate ourselves both to nurturing peace and to creating more prosperity for all our citizens".

Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) general secretary Patricia King said: "He displayed great courage and commitment through his enormous contribution to the creation and maintenance of a durable peace and the structures on which it rests.

"In his role as Deputy First Minister, Mr McGuinness grasped the centrality of compromise, the value of negotiated settlement and the necessity to reach out to all communities on the island, on the basis of mutual tolerance and respect."

Owen Reidy, from ICTU's NI committee, said: "Over many years the trade union movement has worked with the former Deputy First Minister and we have always found him an intelligent and empathetic interlocutor, even on matters of real sensitivity. This movement recognises the importance of negotiation skills and forged a meaningful partnership with his office."

Andrew McCracken of the Community Foundation said Mr McGuinness had been supportive of its Acorn Fund aimed at addressing inequality across the north west. "He is undoubtedly one of many key political figures who brought Northern Ireland out of conflict, and the complexity of his legacy will be discussed for years to come," he said.

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