New Executive ministers must ‘work as a team’

First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and the new-look Stormont Executive outside Stormont Castle this week

First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and the new-look Stormont Executive outside Stormont Castle this week

Business leaders in Derry say they are anxious to meet with “key ministers” in the new Stormont Executive.

The city’s Chamber of Commerce is looking to set up face-to-face meetings with the new Finance, Economy and Infrastructure ministers who were all appointed this week.

Chief executive Sinead McLaughlin says: “We congratulate and welcome the team of ministers to the new Northern Ireland Executive and, recognising problems of the past, we hope that the ministers really will work as a team.”

She says that, as the largest business representation body of the North West, the Chamber of Commerce has a particular interest in measures that will promote and support the local economy.

“As such, we offer particular congratulations to Simon Hamilton as Economy Minister, Chris Hazzard as Infrastructure Minister and Máirtín Ó Muilleoir as Finance Minister.

“We ask them to bear in mind the North West as they make their decisions. We will be seeking meetings with each of these key ministers in the near future to make the case for support for the North West.”

Ms. McLaughlin added: “Our priorities include the need for the substantial expansion of Magee, the wider skills agenda, improvements in our roads to Belfast and Dublin, support for the City of Derry Airport, improving the electricity and telecoms infrastructure and ensuring that foreign direct investors are encouraged to consider the North West in their location decisions.

“We will be stressing all these priorities to the new ministers.”

Meanwhile, the new Northern Ireland Executive has agreed a draft framework for the Programme for Government. The new ministers met for the first time yesterday and the draft framework will go out to public consultation today.

Martin McGuinness denied the agreed framework Programme for Government was nothing more than an “apple pie” list of vague aspirations.