SDLP Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has said that businesses in the North must be allowed to reap the benefits of dual market access.
Mr McGlone was speaking as he hosted a ‘Future for Business in Europe’ event at the Glenavon Hotel in Cookstown on Friday.
Among the speakers at the event were Irish Government Minister of State for European Affairs Peter Burke TD, Manufacturing NI Chief Executive Stephen Kelly, Intertrade Ireland Chief Executive Margaret Hearty, John Thompson & Sons Ltd CEO Declan Billington and SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna.
Mid Ulster MLA Mr McGlone said:
“Through the Windsor Framework businesses in the North have an incredible opportunity to attract investment, create jobs, grow the local economy and contribute to a better life for families here. That was the resounding message from Friday’s event in Cookstown where we were able to bring together the Irish Government Minister Peter Burke, leading business experts and captains of industry alongside my own party colleagues to discuss how we can work together to ensure that businesses across our island benefit from the unique position that has been afforded us.
“In Mid Ulster we are immensely proud of the achievements of local industry, particularly in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. Products are made locally here and across the North that are transported all over the world, putting this place on the map and forging a first-class reputation for companies here. We have had huge success in this area, but the Windsor Framework and dual market access can allow us to deliver renewed prosperity and the SDLP is determined to work with all of our partners to recognise the positive potential that exists and ensure this chance for exponential growth isn’t missed.”
South Belfast MP Claire Hanna said:
“Throughout the Brexit process the SDLP has worked tirelessly both at home and at Westminster to ensure that the interests of communities here were protected and that businesses would not lose out as a result of this outstanding act of economic self-harm. After years of wrangling and uncertainty we have finally reached a solution, which while far from perfect, not only safeguards us from the worst effects of Brexit, but creates a chance to grow due to our unique position to freely trade with both Britain and the EU.
“The Irish Government, businesses, economic experts and the vast majority of political parties in the North are all saying the same thing – we need to make the most of dual market access and use it to supercharge our economy, addressing many of the challenges impacting people in the North in their everyday lives. That was the message we heard loud and clear on Friday and we can’t lose sight of this once in a lifetime opportunity due to the division and deadlock that has held our politics and our society back for so long.”