Derry chamber chief Anna Doherty says power-sharing vital as DUP backs bilateral Brexit deal with Tories

Derry Chamber of Commerce Anna Doherty says the return of a power-sharing Executive is vital for the local economy after a two year hiatus.
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She was speaking after Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris promised the British Government will stick to binding commitments made in a bilateral agreement with the DUP in order to facilitate the return of power-sharing.

He believes the conditions are in now in place for the DUP to return to Stormont and allow £3.3bn promised in a financial package before Christmas to be allocated.

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The Secretary of State made the comments after DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said his party would return to Stormont provided the British Government published legislation designed at ameliorating the impact of the Brexit Protocol and Windsor Framework.

Jeffrey Donaldson says the DUP has backed a bilateral deal with the British Government to return to Stormont.Jeffrey Donaldson says the DUP has backed a bilateral deal with the British Government to return to Stormont.
Jeffrey Donaldson says the DUP has backed a bilateral deal with the British Government to return to Stormont.

Following the development Ms. Doherty said: “It will be a huge relief to our business community that the DUP have agreed to accept the deal to return power-sharing to Stormont.

“After almost two years without an Executive or Assembly, it’s time to get things moving again. Our businesses need it, and our economy needs it.

"The return of local decision making can only be positive, and we look forward to working with a new Executive when it is formed, particularly a new Economy Minister.”

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After a meeting of the DUP party executive in Co. Down overnight Mr. Donaldson claimed its deal with the British Government will include an end to customs checks on goods from Britain destined for the North and that ‘there will be legislation protecting the Acts of Union, which guarantees unfettered access for NI business to the rest of the UK’.

In the early hours of Tuesday he stated: "The party has concluded that subject to the binding commitments between the DUP and the UK government being fully and faithfully delivered as agreed, including the tabling and passing of new legislative measures in parliament and final agreement on a timetable, the package of measures in totality does provide a basis for our party to nominate members to the Northern Ireland Executive, thus seeing the restoration of the locally elected institutions."

Mr. Heaton-Harris responded: “This is a welcome and significant step. I am grateful to Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and colleagues for the constructive dialogue over the past months and to the other political parties in NI for the patience they have shown during this time.

“I am pleased that the DUP have agreed to accept the package of measures that the UK Government has put forward and as a result they are ready to return to the Northern Ireland Assembly and nominate representatives to the Northern Ireland Executive.

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“Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said this is subject to the binding commitments between the DUP and the UK Government - I can confirm that we will stick to this agreement.

“I now believe that all the conditions are in place for the Assembly to return, the parties entitled to form an Executive are meeting today to discuss these matters and I hope to be able to finalise this deal with the political parties as soon as possible.”

Ms. Doherty said: “We hope the necessary legislation will be put in place as swiftly as possible so that a new Executive can be established without delay.”