Ulster Unionist MLA for South Belfast, Michael McGimpsey has raised the issue of a new economic report suggesting the Republic’s economy is growing at three times the rate of Northern Ireland’s during Question Time at Stormont.
Michael McGimpsey MLA said:
“It seems that complacency is the order of the day whenever the Executive is challenged on the performance of the Northern Ireland economy. I asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel, bearing in mind the huge financial advantages that Northern Ireland gains from being a member of the United Kingdom, why it is that the economy of the Irish Republic is currently estimated to be growing at around three times the rate of the economy of Northern Ireland. The only answer the Finance Minister had was to talk about the prospect of lowering Corporation Tax in 2 1/2 years’ time.
“Nothing in Minister Foster’s answer or demeanour suggests to me that there is a sense of urgency or energy in the Executive. By way of contrast, we see dynamic economic management in the Republic- who only a few years ago had to be financially bailed out by, amongst others, the United Kingdom. The Republic’s economy is now growing more than three times as fast as that of Northern Ireland, according to the consultancy firm EY.
“Unfortunately we are seeing economic stagnation coupled with a major challenge to our local manufacturing base, and all the time we have the dead hand approach of the DUP/Sinn Fein axis at the head of the Northern Ireland Executive. The Minister needs to tell the people of Northern Ireland when we are going to catch up with both the rest of the UK and the Republic.”