Chamber advises politicians to accept agreement
Northern Ireland’s Chamber of Commerce has called on politicians to get on board with the UK’s draft withdrawal agreement with the EU or outline an alternative to it.
Ellvena Graham, president of Northern Ireland’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the agreement was a “welcome step forward for the majority of business in Northern Ireland and it is definitely much better than a no-deal scenario”.
Addressing guests at the chamber’s annual banquet, Ms Graham praised UK prime minister Theresa May’s resilience, which she said had been matched only by businesses.
“We want the outcome that’s best for businesses, for consumers, for the economy and for the future stability of Northern Ireland – and we’ll do everything we can to ensure that we get it,” she said.
“We therefore encourage our political representatives who support the draft agreement to do everything in their power to influence political representatives in Britain to join them.
“For those that are not in support of the draft agreement, it is now time to outline your alternative proposals. We are willing to listen.”
Ms Graham also flagged a functioning executive as an “uppermost” priority.
“Last week a list was published of all the things that are being held up by the lack of an Executive – a pile-up of more than 160 decisions affecting all aspects of Northern Ireland life – all needing the signature of a minister.”
“Every action – or indeed non-action – has consequences. And the consequence of a lack of real political representation means that we have no consolidated voice to speak for us at a time when we have never needed it more,” she said.