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Business bodies say time to build a better future

09 July 2013

This statement has been issued by the four leading business organisations in Northern Ireland – the Institute of Directors, CBI, NI Chamber and FSB.

Time to build a better future say business bodies

There have been a number of positive developments in recent weeks which help provide both confidence and encouragement for our community.

The G8 summit was a major success and put Northern Ireland on the world stage for all the right reasons – and in the medium term should provide support for trade, investment and tourism. The inspirational speech by Hannah Nelson at the Waterfront Hall reminds us all that our young people want to ‘live for the future’ and expect our leaders to work together and not apart.

We welcome the commitments from the First Minister and deputy First Minister in May to tackling the divisions within our society and to building a ‘Shared Future’. This was reinforced by the publication of the Economic Pact agreed between the UK government and the NI Executive in advance of the G8 summit which covers a range of economic and social initiatives.

And we welcome a number of particularly significant investment announcements over the last few weeks which will create many jobs.

However the headwinds facing the economy remain strong and much work is still required to sustain the fragile recovery which is underway. We must continue to build a positive image and reputation for the Province if we are to retain and attract investment and create more jobs, particularly for our young people.

All our efforts must be focused on creating a better future, one which offers hope and aspiration to our community. We must learn from the past but we must focus more attention on building our future together. Significant inequalities especially in education achievement need to be addressed. A settled community will also lead to a more prosperous community.

We must therefore build on these positive developments.

As we approach the main ‘parading season’ we would encourage those involved to provide the necessary leadership on contentious parades and related protests. We would encourage all those involved to ‘go the extra mile’ in demonstrating a high level of respect to others, ensuring every effort is undertaken to create space for dialogue and discussion , and endeavour to reduce tensions within our community.

Our young people deserve a peaceful and stable future. One that provides opportunity for them to live and work at home, and one that projects a positive and progressive image internationally that can encourage investment.

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