Belfast Telegraph

Our views on agreement...reaction from across Northern Ireland society

Professor Ian Greer
Professor Ian Greer
RSPB NI Director Joanne Sherwood

Views from across Northern Ireland as the DUP and Sinn Fein finally restore Stormont after three years of paralysis.

Professor Ian Greer, the president and vice-chancellor of Queen's University, said:

"I welcome the draft deal and I wish the parties well for the forthcoming discussions and offer my encouragement to bring these talks to a successful conclusion for the social and economic benefit of Northern Ireland. We, at Queen's University, are ready and willing to work constructively with all parties as necessary to fulfil our crucial leadership role in creating positive impact for Northern Ireland."

Mark Taylor, NI director of the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

"Last year, the Royal College of Surgeons joined with organisations across the medical sector in Northern Ireland to speak with one voice in highlighting the unacceptable waiting lists for our patients.

"We now welcome this draft deal, in particular for the statement of intent to urgently address escalating waiting lists and continue the transformation highlighted by the Bengoa Review. The task ahead will be a difficult one to create the necessary capacity, funding and workforce.

Nicola McCrudden, senior associate at Campbell Tickell, said:

"This is a new deal for housing and has the capacity to have a positive impact on thousands of families and people living in housing stress and experiencing homelessness. Having a safe, affordable, good quality home is a fundamental need - promoting better health, education and employment opportunities. If the parties sign up to this agreement, housing will be prioritised by government, meaning there will be a renewed focus on delivering more homes that are genuinely affordable and supporting those who are most disadvantaged in our society."

Dr Len O'Hagan, NI Water chairman, said:

"I welcome the New Decade, New Approach draft deal and in particular the priority both governments have placed on transforming public services - specifically, that the restored Executive will invest urgently in wastewater infrastructure which is at or nearing capacity, limiting growth in our economy."

Neil Anderson, head of NSPCC NI, said:

"The proposed deal is potentially transformative and, if implemented, the commitment to reform health and social care, particularly mental health, as well as education and justice will go some way to achieving positive change for local children and families.

"We now urge our politicians to reach an agreement and to get to work quickly to close the growing funding gap that is undermining children's services' abilities to make sure children and families can get the right support at the right time where they need it."

RSPB NI director Joanne Sherwood said:

"The deal contains a number of proposals that the RSPB and the wider environmental sector have long been calling for.

"The commitments to introduce legislation to reduce carbon emissions and establish an Independent Environmental Protection Agency are to be welcomed. However, these proposals must be followed up with strong and robust legislation and funding."

Gerry Murphy, northern secretary of the Irish National Teachers Organisation, said:

"The five teachers' unions are optimistic that an Executive will be formed in the coming days which will lead to the redrawing of the educational landscape. The commitments expressed in the proposed deal; to urgently resolve the current teachers industrial dispute; address the resourcing pressures in schools and the proposed wider review of education provision are vital steps to securing the futures our members and the young people in their care.

Mr Murphy is also, chairperson of the Northern Ireland Teachers' Council (NITC), and added:

"The commitments expressed in the proposed deal; to urgently resolve the current teachers industrial dispute; address the resourcing pressures in schools and the proposed wider review of education provision are vital steps to securing the futures our members and the young people in their care.

"Addressing these core problems has been central to the work undertaken by the teachers' unions with the education employers over the past three years and we will not be found wanting when it comes to contributing to the work of delivering the improvements urgently needed for our members and the young people in our schools."

Rosamond Bennett, chief executive of Christian Aid Ireland, said:

"The proposed Climate Change Act is an important step forward in ensuring that Northern Ireland is doing its bit to prevent a worsening climate emergency. The carbon emissions from each person in Northern Ireland are almost twice the UK average and a third more than someone in the Republic. A new Climate Change Act must contain ambitious targets for cuts in carbon emissions, enabling Northern Ireland to reach 'net zero' by 2045."

Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said:

"We recognise there are many pressing social issues, such as health and education to address. But there are also pressing economic issues like the challenges presented by outdated liquor licensing, an uncompetitive rate of hospitality VAT, Air Passenger Duty and the highest business rates in the UK, which have been highlighted by the Reval 2020 showing the serious issues around the 'receipts and expenditure model' on which rates are assessed in parts of the sector."

Compiled by Gillian Halliday

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph