Accountants demand devolution is restored to address economic, health and education challenges

Chartered Accountants Ulster Society chair Emma Murray
Chartered Accountants Ulster Society chair Emma Murray Chartered Accountants Ulster Society chair Emma Murray

'REAL leadership and a shared vision' are required for Northern Ireland to rebuild its economy and realise its true potential under the 'significant opportunity' presented by the Windsor Framework.

"And that means an immediate restoration of the Stormont Assembly so that major challenges in health, education and the economy can be addressed," according to Emma Murray.

As chair of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society, Emma was addressing 400 guests at Titanic Belfast at the body’s annual dinner, sponsored by Danske Bank and MCS Group, where guest speaker was comedian and writer Ruby Wax.

Emma said: “This is the sixth collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Indeed since 1998 we have had almost 10 years without a governing Executive.

“Three quarters of our members believe that the local economy is either contracting or stagnant, and they are also seeing an increase in the number of businesses facing financial distress.

“The business community wants to help our politicians in the task of rebuilding and resetting our economy on an upward trajectory.

“We all want to see a plan that can transform the economy, fix our health service and fund our schools, colleges and universities. We need the skills to build the economy of the 21st century that we all want to see.

“All of us have to make Northern Ireland work. We want to be able to offer our children, and the next generation, political stability, investment, well-paid employment and a society free from violence.”

Her speech highlighted a recent survey of chartered accountants which identified the Windsor Framework as a 'significant opportunity' for the north.

“Our members believe this is a key opportunity for Northern Ireland in the years ahead, potentially providing a unique trading position for businesses.

“There is a balance to be struck. So now is the time to put division behind us and finally realise our potential.”