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Programme for Government: Consultation

Oral Answers to Questions — The Executive Office – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 17th October 2016.

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Photo of Thomas Buchanan Thomas Buchanan DUP 2:30 pm, 17th October 2016

T6. Mr T Buchanan asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister for an update on the Programme for Government consultation process. (AQT 341/16-21)

Photo of Martin McGuinness Martin McGuinness Sinn Féin

Things are going very well. We have been through the first phase of the consultation.

[Interruption.]

I hear some sniggering from those who are totally at odds with where the vast bulk of our community is. The stakeholders — the business community, educational establishments, the community and voluntary sector, the farming organisations — all appreciate the fact that they have been consulted not once but twice and will be able to have their say in the formation of the Programme for Government. In my opinion, it is going very well, and that appears to be much to the annoyance of some people in the opposition parties.

Photo of Thomas Buchanan Thomas Buchanan DUP 2:45 pm, 17th October 2016

I thank the Minister for his response. How will this encourage greater collaboration amongst stakeholders and small businesses, especially those in West Tyrone, a rural constituency?

Photo of Martin McGuinness Martin McGuinness Sinn Féin

I would have been very surprised if West Tyrone had not been mentioned in that supplementary question. Obviously, a collaborative approach is very important. We have often said that, even against the backdrop of our phenomenal success at a time of world economic downturn, when we have managed to bring in more foreign direct investment, mainly from the United States of America, than at any other time in the history of the state, the backbone of our economy is our indigenous businesses all around the North, including those in West Tyrone, Fermanagh and South Tyrone and Mid Ulster. I absolutely appreciate the massive contribution that they have made. They are very appreciative of the consultative process and the outcomes-based process that we have engaged in, and I am sure that their voices will be heard loud and clear at the end of that.